MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. The issue on holding Russian-US consultations on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is being considered, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS on Thursday.
“The issue of holding consultations is being worked out,” the ministry said, commenting on a possible date and venue of the meeting.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow was ready for consultations with Washington at the level of the military and diplomats on this issue.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).
The US accused Russia of violating the treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US side.
US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov described this decision as a dangerous step. Washington’s decision came under criticism from Berlin and Beijing. However London expressed support to the US’ stance and NATO placed responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia which, it claims, may violate the treaty.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said after a NATO ministerial meeting on December 4 that his country would stop fulfilling its liabilities under the INF Treaty unless Russia returned to “full and verifiable” compliance with it within 60 days. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the following day that the US side had provided no evidence to prove Russia’s alleged violations of the treaty. He stressed that Russia is against dismantling this treaty but will have to react correspondingly if the United States withdraws from it.
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