US Fails to Rectify INF Violations, Senior Russian Diplomat Says

TEHRAN(Tasnim) - The United States has taken no steps to remedy the violations of its commitments under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Monday.

US Fails to Rectify INF Violations, Senior Russian Diplomat Says

"In fact, the US has not taken any necessary steps on rectifying violations of its commitments under the treaty," Ryabkov said, Tass reported.

According to the senior diplomat, first of all, this concerns the deployment of Mk-41 launchers of cruise missiles on the ground, which is banned under the treaty. "No progress has either been made on the so-called target-missiles, fired by the US from the ground to test its air defense system, which are similar by their characteristics to ballistic intermediate-and shorter-range missiles. This also concerns the Pentagon’s use of unmanned combat aerial vehicles, which are fully defined by the treaty’s term such as 'a ground-based cruise missile'," he said.

Moscow and Washington need to continue dialogue on arms control, the Russian deputy foreign minister told a briefing on Monday.

"We are still open for an equal and meaningful dialogue with the United States on issues related to the INF Treaty and other strategic stability issues, based on mutual respect and mutual consideration of interests," he said. "There is a need to continue inter-agency consultations on arms control with a focus on nuclear weapons, which resumed in Geneva on July 17," the senior Russian diplomat added.

Any further steps regarding arms control should also take into consideration missile and nuclear potentials of France and the United Kingdom, Ryabkov stated.

"Certainly, when considering any further steps on arms control over missile and nuclear armaments and discussing the prospects of any negotiating formats or any possible deals, we will insist that this process should take into account the potentials of France and the United Kingdom," he said.

The diplomat pledged that Moscow is ready to discuss a broader agreement on nuclear weapons provided that it is substantive.

"As for the initiative to make a broader agreement, we are ready for dialogue, we never refuse to build dialogue but in order to make it substantive, we need to talk business rather than chant slogans like the US has been doing," Ryabkov emphasized.

On August 2, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the INF Treaty was suspended at Washington’s initiative. The US explained the move by Russia’s refusal to meet its ultimatum on destroying new cruise missiles 9M729, which according to Washington and NATO, violate the treaty. Moscow rejected these accusations, insisting that the missile’s technical features were in compliance with the treaty and put forward its own claims against Washington.

The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applied to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington repeatedly 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, 2019, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting on February 2.

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. Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Treaty on March 4. On July 3, the head of state signed the decree into law after it had been approved by both houses of parliament.

On August 2, Washington formally withdrew from the INF Treaty and the Russian Foreign Ministry, in turn, officially confirmed that the Treaty had been terminated at the United States’ initiative.

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