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People's Daily Online

Putin invites NATO to jointly reduce tensions in Europe as INF Treaty ends

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:23, October 27, 2020

MOSCOW, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to jointly de-escalate the situation in Europe since the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has terminated.

In a statement published by the Kremlin, Putin criticized the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty last year, which led to the collapse of the pact, increasing the risk of an arms race and intensifying Russia-NATO confrontation.

"Active efforts are required to reduce the deficit of confidence, strengthen regional and global stability, as well as lower the risks arising from misunderstandings and disagreements in the field of missile weapons," he said.

Putin reaffirmed "Russia's adherence to its earlier announced moratorium on the deployment of land-based INF until American-made missiles of similar classes appear."

He called on NATO countries to declare a similar moratorium as Russia did.

"We are ready to take further steps to minimize the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF Treaty based on the principles of equal and indivisible security as well as balanced consideration of all parties' interests," Putin said.

The Russian leader proposed mutual verification measures regarding the Aegis Ashore systems with Mk-41 launchers at U.S. and NATO bases in Europe, as well as 9M729 missiles in Russia's Kaliningrad region.

He said Russia is ready to refrain from deploying 9M729 missiles in the European part of the country, only if NATO countries take reciprocal steps, excluding the deployment in Europe of weapons previously prohibited by the INF Treaty.

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