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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US INF withdrawal increases risk of renewed nuclear arms race: Putin

Iran Press TV

Monday, 26 October 2020 11:20 AM

President Vladimir Putin of Russia says the United States' last year "grave mistake" in abandoning a landmark nuclear treaty with Moscow threatens the world with the risk of another nuclear arms race as the Kremlin puts forth a proposal to negotiate new verification measures with Washington.

Putin said on Monday that Washington's exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was a "grave mistake," which increases "confrontational potential" between the world nuclear powers.

"We consider the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as a result of which it has ceased to operate, a serious mistake that increases the risks of unleashing a missile arms race," Putin said.

The president said the INF was a key element "in maintaining predictability and restraint in the missile-related sector throughout Europe," due to tensions between NATO and Russia.

Putin also proposed to agree with Washington to avoid the deployment of certain missiles in Europe.

He proposed to negotiate new mutual verification measures with Washington now that the INF is not in force.

Also on Monday, the Kremlin proposed that Russia and the United States agree to refrain from deploying certain land-based missiles in Europe and adopt mutual verification measures following the cancellation of the INF treaty.

"We propose all interested sides to consider concrete options for mutual verification measures to remove existing concerns," the Kremlin said in a statement.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed toward the end of the Cold War in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

It banned all land-based missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers and included missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.

The INF, seen as a milestone in ending the Cold War arms race between the two superpowers, led to the elimination of 2,692 missiles from both sides, ridding Europe of land-based nuclear missiles.

But Washington withdrew from the deal last year, citing Moscow's failure to comply with the treaty for its pullout.

Russia, however, said it had not breached the accord and believed the US planned to abandon the deal as part of its plan to develop its own sophisticated missiles.

Following the US move, Moscow also declared the formal end of the arms control treaty.

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