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Moscow Ready to Settle INF Treaty Dispute With Washington Based on Mutual Transparency - Russian FM

© Sputnik / Vladimir Vyatkin / Go to the mediabankThe Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Moscow
The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Moscow - Sputnik International
The director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, Vladimir Ermakov, said Wednesday that Moscow welcomes Washington's support to create preconditions for further moves toward nuclear disarmament.

"We are still ready to solve the problem on the basis of mutual transparency measures and to discuss possible ways to stabilize the situation and ensure predictability in this area after 2 August, when the procedure for withdrawing from the treaty, launched by Washington, will be completed, however, we have not seen any interest in such a conversation from the United States", Ermakov said.

According to Ermakov, Moscow notes difficulties in returning to a discussion regarding the way to settle mutual complaints on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Washington, due to "fundamental differences".

"During the working meetings at the State Department, the topic of the INF Treaty was indeed touched upon, but fundamental differences in our views on the causes and nature of the crisis around this Treaty remain", Ermakov said on Wednesday. "It is difficult to return to a substantive discussion on how to resolve the counterclaims in the context of the INF".

Ermakov also stressed that the meeting on creating "an environment for the nuclear disarmament" in the US was "not useless" and noted that Moscow would draw its own conclusions.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted the official suspension of Russia's participation in the 1987 INF Treaty. The move came months after the United States suspended its obligations under the accord on 2 February and warned that it would launch a withdrawal process which would be completed in six months unless Moscow remedied the country's alleged violations of the deal. Russia pledged to act proportionally.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and then-US President Ronald Reagan. Under the agreement, the leaders agreed to destroy all cruise and ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,400 miles).

Putin said in an interview published last week that the world likely faces another nuclear arms race in light of the United States quitting the INF treaty, stressing that he does not think Russia "means anything" to the United States and that the war theatre in Europe is unlikely to be interesting to Washington despite the expansion of NATO and NATO’s contingent near Russia’s borders. 

US Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said last week that the United States was seeking a response in the sphere of conventional weapons and also studying the possibility of creating new defense systems amid Russia's suspension of compliance with the INF. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov suggested that the security situation in Europe will not collapse following Washington's withdrawal from the Russian-US INF treaty.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the margins of the G20 last Friday where they discussed a range of issues including reviving arms control talks.

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