Russia In ‘Material Breach’ Of Key Nuclear Treaty, U.S. Says
Russia remains “in material breach” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the United States has said after a new round of bilateral talks ended with no progress.
U.S. and Russian diplomats met in Geneva amid widespread concern over the future of the bilateral agreement, after U.S. President Donald Trump said in October that Washington would pull out of the deal unless Russia lived up to its terms.
“The meeting was disappointing as it is clear Russia continues to be in material breach of the Treaty and did not come prepared to explain how it plans to return to full and verifiable compliance,” U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson said in a statement on January 15.
“Our message was clear: Russia must destroy its noncompliant missile system,” Thompson added.
Russia hosted the talks at its mission in Geneva and Moscow’s delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
“Responsibility for this fully and completely rests with the American side,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by state news agency RIA Novosti at the end of the talks.
On January 14, Ryabkov told Interfax, “Recently we have noted that the American side has even hardened its tone, we see that as not a very favorable signal.”
Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would withdraw within 60 days from the Cold War treaty limiting midrange nuclear arms if Russia did not dismantle missiles that the United States says breach the deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the U.S. hard line by threatening to develop more nuclear missiles banned under the treaty.
The INF treaty was signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 and led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated.
With reporting by AFP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.