Russia and the United States may hold consultations concerning the implementation of the 1987 INF Treaty, which bans intermediate-range and shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles, within a month.
"It is not ruled out that such consultations will take place within a month at quite a solid level between the Foreign and Defense Ministries," a Russian diplomatic source told Interfax on Thursday.
The U.S. earlier accused Russia of some violations of the INF Treaty but did not cite concrete facts. The administration of President Barack Obama said it had notified Moscow of this, announcing its readiness to hold bilateral talks. The White House also said that the U.S. could hold consultations with its allies concerning this matter in the event of Russia's further non-compliance with the document.
The U.S. authorities claim that in 2008 Russia tested a new surface-to-surface cruise missile, the parameters of which were in violation of the 1987 Soviet-U.S. Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles.
In his letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama expressed his interest in holding bilateral consultations at the highest level in order to preserve the INF Treaty and discuss with the Kremlin ways to do it.
Russia could consider the possibility of pulling out of this treaty as a respond to the growing U.S. missile defense shield. In 2000, President Putin spoke about the possibility of Moscow's unilateral withdrawal from this treaty after Washington quit the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in early August that "the unfavorable situation concerning compliance with the INF Treaty causes our [Russia's] serious concern as Washington continues to systematically and methodically undermine the system of global strategic stability."
The INF Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, forbids the signatories to possess, produce, or flight-test ground-launched cruise missiles with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
The treaty was fully implemented by June 1991. The Soviet Union destroyed 1,846 and the U.S. 846 such systems. In particular, the Soviet Union disposed of the OTR-22, Temp-S, RSD-10 Pioner, R-12, and R-14 missiles. The U.S. also insisted on the destruction of the OTR-23 Oka missiles, although its range capability of 50 to 400 kilometers did not formally fall under the treaty. The U.S. destroyed Pershing-1A, Pershing-2, and BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles.
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