German top diplomat calls on Russia, US, EU to boost dialogue on INF Treaty

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MUNICH, February 15. /TASS/. Russia, the United States and the European Union should boost dialogue to overcome differences concerning the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at the Munich Security Council on Friday.

“Given the crisis around the INF Treaty, we need to step up dialogue between the Americans, Europeans and Russians,” he said.

INF: from inception to suspension

The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions had accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.

On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returns to “real and verifiable” compliance.

On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue.

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