Europe

US 'responsible' for nuclear pact destruction: Putin

Russian president instructed intelligence services to follow US' missile moves

Elena Teslova   | 05.08.2019
US 'responsible' for nuclear pact destruction: Putin


MOSCOW 

The U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty seriously complicated the situation in the world and created fundamental risks for all, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

"Let me emphasize that all the responsibility for what has happened rests with the United States," Putin accused the US administration for the bilateral withdrawals from the INF Treaty.

In a written statement, following an urgent meeting with Russia's Security Council members, Putin said he instructed the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service to monitor "in the most thorough manner" further U.S. steps in "development, production and deployment of the intermediate-range and medium-range missiles".

"If Russia obtains reliable information whereby the United States completes the development of these systems and starts to produce them, Russia will have no option other than to engage in a full-scale effort to develop similar missiles," he said.

Putin added that despite the recent developments he expects the common sense will prevail and the U.S. will return to a responsible approach to international security.

He also voiced concern over the future of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

"Russia considers that it is necessary to revive without delay meaningful talks on ensuring strategic stability and security. We are ready to engage in these efforts," he said.

On Aug. 2, the U.S. formally withdrew from the nuclear pact, following a months-long war of words between Moscow and Washington.

The treaty was signed on Dec. 8, 1987 after about 10 years of negotiations by then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, bringing to an end the threat of a nuclear war in Europe.

Under the treaty, both sides destroyed the whole class of intermediate- and short-range missiles in a span of four years.

Last October, Trump announced an exit from the pact, accusing Moscow of violating it.

The U.S. began this February the process of withdrawing from the INF, to be completed in six months.

In a tit-for-tat response, on July 3 Putin signed a bill suspending Moscow's obligations under the INF treaty, calling the U.S. decision "a serious mistake."

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