Kremlin says US ultimatum on nuclear treaty is a tactical ploy

Sunday, 09 Dec, 2018

NATO allies say they have concluded that Russian Federation is in violation of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear treaty, paving the way for the United States to leave the pact unless Moscow complies with it.

Signed in 1987 by then USA president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, the INF resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals. The deal involved the destruction of certain nuclear weapons by both countries.

Pompeo said Washington "would welcome a Russian change of heart" but that he has seen no indication Moscow is likely to comply.

In 2017, after the United States released the name of the missile system, Russian Federation admitted to its existence but said it was in compliance with the treaty.

Mr Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov also heightened fears, and said: "If the Americans ultimately withdraw from that treaty, there is a high risk, although now they deny it, that they will deploy these missiles in Europe".

"One of the main destructive factors deteriorating the global situation is the activities of the United States aimed at retaining the predominant role of the USA in the world and excluding other countries from competition", Gerasimov said. "What is our response? A simple one: then we'll do the same".

Russia's foreign ministry said it has received word of US withdrawal from the arms treaty. Moscow has consistently said it is in compliance with the agreement.

The Trump administration has complained of Moscow's deployment of Novator 9M729 missiles, which Washington says fall under the treaty's ban on missiles that can travel distances of up to 5,500 kilometres.

Pompeo said Tuesday that the United States would no longer participate in the treaty if Russian Federation does not comply with it within 60 days.

The spokesperson referred to those allegations, which were brought forth by the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, as "political schemes". "The German government welcomes the fact that the American government is giving its preservation another chance", she added, referring to the 60-day deadline.

They called on Russian Federation "to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance".

Top U.S. officials view Russia's non-compliance with the INF Treaty as part of Moscow's broader campaign of malign activity around the globe, including in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria.

Congress authorized funding research and development efforts to build new missile systems "before Washington announced withdrawal from the INF", Putin believes. We will continue to keep the fielding of Russian intermediate-range missiles under close review. Analysts say the pact's goal when signed was to prevent a buildup of so-called "tactical nukes" by US and Russian forces in nations across both Eastern and Western Europe. They thought we wouldn't notice this, but this is already in the Pentagon's budget - the creation of these missiles.