Russia: US nuclear treaty plan ‘dangerous’

Russia denies building missiles that violate the accord

Russia denies building missiles that violate the accord

Russia has condemned US plans to withdraw from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty and threatened to retaliate for a “very dangerous step”.

On Saturday, President Trump said he intended to “terminate” the three-decade-old 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

He said Russia had been “violating it for many years”.

The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

In the last five decades the US and Russia have signed a range of joint agreements to limit and reduce their substantial nuclear arsenals.

Abandoning the INF – negotiated by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 – would mark a significant setback for arms control, analysts say.

It was signed near the end of the Cold War, a period of relations between the US and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1989 marked by intense international tension and overshadowed by the threat of nuclear conflict.

Speaking to Interfax on Sunday, Mr Gorbachev described Mr Trump’s decision as a “mistake” and warned it would undermine disarmament efforts.

President Trump said the US would not let Russia “go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to”.

“I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” the president said of the INF treaty after a campaign rally in Nevada.

 

In 2014, President Obama accused Russia of breaching the INF after it allegedly tested a ground-launched cruise missile. He reportedly chose not to withdraw from the treaty under pressure from European leaders, who said such a move could restart an arms race.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton is expected to confirm the withdrawal during talks in Moscow later this week.

“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he told state news agency Tass.

Mr Ryabkov said Russia condemned US attempts to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail”.

The minister also told the news agency RIA Novosti that if the US continues to behave “clumsily and crudely” and backs out of international agreements, “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures, including involving military technology”. -BBC

 

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