Deputy FM: Russia's INF claims to US "not an excuse, it is a real concern"

Russia's deputy foreign minister says there is no progress, and neither is there expected any.

Russia so far sees no US side’s willingness to discuss claims of non-compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Monday.

"This issue is occasionally raised in our dialogue with the United States," Ryabkov said. "And it would be an exaggeration to say that some progress has been made."

"We do not see the American colleagues’ readiness to seriously consider and discuss our claims regarding Washington’s non-compliance with the Treaty requirements," he said.

"In essence, no answer has been given to our claims," the senior diplomat said. "They put forward such quasi-legal, untrue and unfounded arguments, saying that Russia is allegedly looking for a pretext to accuse the United States of violation of the INF Treaty."

"It’s not an excuse, it is a real concern. But there is no dialogue, instead they claim that we allegedly violate the document," the official said. "There is no progress, so the situation is quite complicated in this sphere."

"I do not think that in the coming months we will have some changes for the better, although we will continue to persistently raise these questions before the American colleagues," he said. "We are not evading the dialogue on the INF Treaty future."

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 in Washington. It came into force on 1 June 1988.

The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, commonly referred to as the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, requires destruction of the Parties' ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 km, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force.

The intermediate-range missile is defined as ground-launched ballistic missiles (GLBM) or ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM) having a range between 1,000 km to 5,500 km. The shorter-range missile is defined as GLBMs or GLCMs with a range between 500 km and 1,000 km (Article II). The Treaty covers the following intermediate-range missiles: for the United States, Pershing II and BGM-109G; for the Soviet Union, SS-20, SS-4, and SS-5. As for shorter-range missiles: for the United States, Pershing IA; for the USSR, SS-12 and SS-23 (Article III).

The INF Treaty applied to all land-based missiles regardless of their equipment. A special clarification, adopted in the spring of 1988 during the ratification process, elaborated that it covered all missiles falling under the definition irrespective of whether they were equipped with nuclear, conventional, or "exotic" warheads.

First published by TASS.

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