Russia Slams US 60 Day Ultimatum on INF Treaty as'Game
Sputnik Vladimir Astapkovich
02 February, 2019, 15:26
The United States has warned that it will begin a six-month withdrawal process from the treaty on February 2 unless Russian Federation destroys its 9M729 ground-based missile system, which it says breaches the Cold War-era agreement.
Washington intends to begin withdrawing from the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty early next month. Moscow insists the missile has a range of less than 500 kilometers. If no last minute breakthrough is reached, the USA on Saturday will begin the six-month process of pulling out of the 1987 pact.
The under Secretary also announced that the United States is likely to announce the suspension of its obligations under the INF Treaty in the coming days.
Ryabkov said Moscow would continue working to try to reach agreement despite the failure of the talks, but accused Washington of ignoring Russian complaints about US missiles and of adopting what he called a destructive position.
"The United States imposed a 60-day period during which we had to fulfill their ultimatum", the Sputnik news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying after talks with Thompson. Washington and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation claim a new Russian system violates those limits. Halting treaty compliance would untie the US military's hands, Thompson said. The U.S. alleged in 2014 that Russian Federation had tested a weapon, the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile, at a range that fell under the treaty. Each battalion consists of four launchers; each launcher has six cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. Russian Federation claims these launchers could be used for Tomahawk cruise missiles in violation of the INF Treaty.
But Russia says the missile's range puts it outside the treaty, which was aimed at ending the Cold War between the two powers. It also led to an end to a unsafe standoff between U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe.
Still, NATO commanders are examining the security ramifications in light of Russia's new missiles and the impending collapse of the INF treaty. That could revive the nuclear arms race in Europe and spur one in Asia.
President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty in October. Countries such as Germany are likely to oppose USA deployments of such missiles in their territory, but other countries such as Poland and Romania could be more willing to house these missile units, especially if they guarantee an added US military presence in their territory, commented an article by Stratfor Worldview, a USA based think tank.
Breaking arms control agreements was much easier than concluding them, said Arbatov.
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