Russians Look at Future Without INF Treaty
US accuses Moscow of violating the INF Treaty
The Russian side promises retaliatory measures
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday rejected a US claim that Russia is violating the fundamental Cold War Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Missiles (INF).
Putin also said that his country will start developing medium-range nuclear missiles if the US withdraws from the treaty and starts developing its weapons..
As Putin said, judging by the actions of the United States, Washington decided that “the United States should also have such weapons.” “What is the answer on our part? Yes, simple: then we will do it too, ”Russian news agencies cite his statement..
The belligerent rhetoric of escalating relations emerged after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Weapons Treaty (INF) within 60 days if Russia does not destroy missiles that the US believes violate agreements..
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of deploying “several battalions of SSC-8 missiles,” land-based medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Moscow denies it.
“It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that hinders our ability to respond to violations by the Russian side. Russia has reversed the trajectory of reducing nuclear risk in Europe, “- said Pompeo, speaking to reporters in Brussels..
“First, the American side announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty … and then it began to look for excuses for this,” Russian news agencies comment on the words of President Putin.
“The main motivation is that we are breaking something. At the same time, as usual, no evidence of violations on our part was provided, ”the Russian president said..
The comments cite previous statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry rejecting accusations against Moscow as “unfounded”.
Meanwhile, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Vasily Gerasimov said that Moscow is capable of increasing the capabilities of its ground-based strategic nuclear arsenal..
According to Gerasimov, “one of the main destructive factors complicating the international situation is the US actions aimed at maintaining its dominant role in world politics”.
“For these purposes, Washington and its allies are taking comprehensive and coordinated measures to contain Russia and discredit its role in international affairs,” reads comments published by the Russian Defense Ministry..
US NATO allies express concern over Washington’s threat to withdraw from the INF Treaty, fearing a new arms race in Europe, but on Tuesday the alliance’s foreign ministers agreed to formally accuse Russia of “material violation” of the treaty.
Jonathan Eyal, director of international programs at the Royal Institute for Defense Research in London, notes: “Instead of constantly complaining about the US withdrawal from the agreement, the Europeans should pay more attention to the reasons for this withdrawal.”.
“No European country has challenged the American position. Intelligence reports indicate serious violations of the treaty by Russia. Therefore, I think the argument of the American side will be as follows: let’s unite and make it clear to Moscow that if it wants to save the treaty, it will have to make concessions and fulfill its obligations under this treaty, “Eyal said..
Meanwhile, Pompeo, speaking on Tuesday at an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund, denied suggestions that the US withdrawal from the treaty was driven by the America First policy pursued by President Trump..
“In the best traditions of our great democracy, we are engaging noble states in building a new liberal order that prevents war and fosters prosperity,” Pompeo said..
He added that President Trump is trying to reform the world system on the basis of individual states, not international institutions..
“We act to preserve, protect and promote an open, fair, transparent and free world of sovereign states,” Pompeo said in a speech to diplomats and officials gathered at the event..
According to him, the decision of Great Britain to leave the European Union testifies that supranational organizations are ineffective..
A spokesman for the European Commission called Pompeo “one of those people who come to Brussels and form a point of view, not knowing how our system works.”.
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