Russia warns US against withdrawing from INF treaty; calls it 'counterproductive'
Russia believes that the US plan to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) will have grave consequences for the world, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.
"We are deeply convinced that ... the destruction of one of the key mechanisms of arms control would be radically counterproductive," Ryabkov told a news briefing, adding that Russia was still ready for dialogue with the US, Xinhua news agency reported.
"The crisis of confidence will exceed all limits and complicate even more the prospects of launching any systemic talk on strategic problems and arms race prevention, which would correspond to the interests of Russia, the United States and the world community in general," he said.
In October, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would pull out of the landmark INF Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and the US in 1987 on account of Russia's alleged breach of the agreement, which Moscow had repeatedly denied.
The destruction of the INF may provoke an accelerated dismantling of the whole architecture of arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Much will depend on Washington's next steps, Ryabkov said.
He said that Russia was expecting an answer from the US at the upcoming meeting between the presidents of the two countries on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina.
"As far as the summit is concerned, I think it would be very important to understand and somehow clarify, or get an answer essentially to the main question: What is the US going to do next?" he said.
According to Ryabkov, Russia cannot ignore the potential deployment of new US missiles on territories that present a threat to Russia and its allies.
But if Washington agrees to constructive and concrete dialogue, Moscow will not have to be persuaded, Ryabkov said.
Although Russia believes that the INF treaty is not ideal, it still has value, and Russia was ready to work for its survival, he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)