Czech President: Arms Race to Start if Deals Like INF Abandoned
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Czech President Milos Zeman believes that there is a solution to the Russian-US standoff around the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"If there are technical characteristics of these missiles that violate this agreement either from the Russian or from the US side, it’s very simple to show these characteristics and agree. Of course, I want all agreements to exist, because without these agreements there will be an arms race," Milos Zeman told the Vesti Nedeli show on Russia's NTV broadcaster.
The statement comes after US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States would suspend its adherence to the INF Treaty in 60 days unless Russia returned to full compliance with the agreement, Sputnik reported.
Russia, on its part, has denied the allegations and, in response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Friday that Washington's claims that Moscow has breached the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty were groundless, as tests of the Russian 9M729 missile system were carried for a range that is not banned under the treaty.
Commenting on the anti-Russian sanctions, Milos Zeman stated that they were useless and couldn't solve any problems.
"Sanctions are useless, they do not help anything. I hope that sooner or later these sanctions will no longer exist," Zeman told the Russian broadcaster.
He also stressed that the European Union lacked a strong leader, but Russia, the United States, and China 'undoubtedly' had strong leadership.
"Russia undoubtedly has a strong leader. China has a strong leader, the United States has a strong leader. Please find me a strong leader at the European Union level. I look left, I look right, I look straight, I look back — I simply don't see a strong leader," he said.
In addition, Zeman said that he did not expect any large-scale military conflict stressing that "the goals of war are achieved via economic means, and not with weapons."
The relations between Moscow and the West deteriorated over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea's reunification with Russia in 2014. The Russian authorities have repeatedly stated that the use of sanctions was counterproductive and called for normalizing relations. Russia has repeatedly stressed that it was not a party to the Ukrainian conflict, and that Crimea rejoined it following a referendum that was held in compliance with international law.