Moscow on Proposed INF-Weapons Moratorium: No Country Can Say It Does not Share Russia's Concerns
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has commented on Germany's rejection of Russia's proposal to impose a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe, as envisioned under the now-defunct Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"This is all a matter of talks. No country can say it does not share Russia's concern over the fact that such an important area as arms control no longer has some documented legal regulation", Peskov said, when asked what Moscow thought of its proposal in light of Berlin's rejection.
In the meantime, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO leaders will touch upon Russia and the unravelling of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) at the summit next week.
"We will … discuss Russia and future arms control. NATO allies have been united in response to Russia's aggressive actions … We have agreed that our response to Russia's breach of the INF Treaty would be defensive, measured and coordinated", he said.
He continued by saying that Moscow does not pose any imminent military threat to any NATO member, but rather a strategic challenge to the alliance.
"We don't see any imminent military threat of Russia against any NATO country, but we see is a strategic challenge and we see a Russia, which is investing heavily in new modern capabilities, including nuclear forces, a Russia, which is violating a cornerstone arms control agreement in Europe, the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty, deploying missiles, capable of reaching European cities within minutes, and missiles, which are nuclear-capable. And we see a Russia, which has been responsible for aggressive actions against its neighbours, Georgia, Ukraine", he stated.
Leaders of the 29 NATO member states will meet in the UK capital of London next Wednesday to take stock of the most pressing issues and plan for the future. The meeting marks NATO's 70th anniversary.
On 28 November, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that Paris had not accepted the Russian president's proposal for a moratorium on the deployment of medium- and shorter-range missiles in Europe.
Vladimir Putin sent to main European and Asian countries and international organisations a letter, suggesting a moratorium on the deployment of medium- and shorter-range missiles in Europe and other regions in September.
NATO has confirmed receiving the letter but said it was not credible, due to the Russian 9M729 cruise missile, known to the alliance as SSC-8.
The INF Treaty, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, was terminated on 2 August at the US initiative after the country formally suspended its INF obligations six months earlier. Both the United States and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of violating the deal, which required the signatories to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,417 miles).
Washington's decision caused considerable criticism from Russia and other countries. Russia has repeatedly denied allegations that it violated the INF Treaty as unsubstantiated and counterclaimed that the US defence systems deployed in Europe are equipped with launchers capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges prohibited under the agreement.
Nevertheless, US President Donald Trump has mentioned a possibility for a new arms control treaty in the future that should include Russia and China.
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