By Elena Teslova
The U.S. has confirmed to Russia its earlier announced intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russia said on Tuesday.
A diplomatic note confirming the U.S. move was transferred through high-level political channels, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in a statement published on the Foreign Ministry website.
“Taking note of the U.S. intention to withdraw from the treaty, presented to us through bilateral channels at a high political level as final and not subject to revision, we nevertheless leave open the door for a substantive, constructive and mutually acceptable dialogue on the search for ways to preserve the INF Treaty,” said Ryabkov.
Earlier Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the end of the treaty could lead to a collapse of the system of arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Putin said if the problem is the treaty's bilateral character, it could be expanded by including new countries through negotiations and a new pact could be drafted.
If the U.S. decides to pull out of the treaty, Putin said: “I think it is necessary to state once again that we will be forced to take additional measures to strengthen our security."
The treaty, signed in 1987 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was largely designed to stave off the prospects of nuclear war in Europe.
On Oct. 21, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty.