MOSCOW, FEB 7 — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday that Moscow will take comprehensive measures to ensure its security if the United States leaves the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
“If the United States reconsiders its destructive line and returns to compliance with the INF Treaty, Russia is open to meaningful dialogue on the subject of the treaty and other issues of strategic stability,” Ryabkov told a press conference.
He said that on Feb. 2, the Russian Embassy in Washington received a note from the U.S. State Department with official notification about leaving treaty.
In a response note on Feb. 4, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would suspend its obligations under the treaty “for the period before the United States returns to strict compliance with the treaty or until its termination,” Ryabkov said.
He recalled that to save the INF Treaty, Russia has done its utmost to engage the United States in conversation and offering concrete initiatives to find a solution.
However, all Russian efforts were ignored or blocked by the United States, the senior diplomat said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty, citing Russia’s violation of the deal, a claim that has been repeatedly denied by Moscow.
Pompeo’s announcement, made nearly 60 days after Washington threatened to quit the historic INF Treaty, will start a six-month countdown period, which will lead to a permanent exit from the pact inked in 1987 between the United States and the then-Soviet Union.
The INF Treaty marked the first-ever pact reached by Washington and Moscow on nuclear disarmament and a major step forward in restricting the arms race.
However, the two sides have accused each other of violating the arms control agreement in recent years amid increasing tensions. – XINHUA