Moscow and Washington must hold talks on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), so that it could be adapted to the current situation and limited only to Europe, Chairman of Russia’s upper house Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev told Sputnik on Tuesday.
“Current misunderstanding on the INF Treaty could be resolved with the help of fully-fledged negotiations between Russia and the United States. Their result could be the adaptation of the Treaty,” Bondarev said. “For example, we could limit the zone of its operation to the European theater, while permitting the deployment of intermediate- and short-range missiles in other regions where there is an objective necessity [to deploy them],” the lawmaker added. However, Russia will have to respond with the development of “unique types of weapons” if the United States withdraws from the INF Treaty, Bondarev stressed. “We consider it necessary to comply with the INF Treaty and advocate for its preservation. This is the official position of the Russian leadership. However, if the United States terminates the treaty, we will have to respond with a set of measures, including accelerating the development and commission of the unique types of weapons,” Bondarev said.
Washington uses “made-up” arguments when groundlessly accusing Moscow of breaching the treaty, the senior lawmaker noted. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press conference in Brussels earlier in the day that the United States will suspend its adherence to the INF Treaty in 60 days unless Russia returns to full compliance with the agreement. In October, US President Donald Trump announced his country’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty over alleged Russian violations of the agreement. The Russian authorities, in turn, have many times stressed that their country strictly complied with the obligations outlined in the treaty. The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and then US President Ronald Reagan. The leaders agreed to destroy all cruise or ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,400 miles). Meanwhile, the US withdrawal from the INF treaty will undermine stability in Europe, Yuri Shvytkin, the deputy chair of the Russian lower house’s defense committee, told Sputnik on Tuesday….Read more