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ITAR-TASS: US statements that Russia breaks INF Treaty unfounded - FM

Russia has repeatedly informed the United States of its concerns about the INF Treaty but Washington remained deaf to them, it said. U.S. government officials’ statements that Russia has allegedly broken the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty are groundless, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

It said these allegations were “as baseless as all of Washington’s claims that have lately been reaching Moscow. Absolutely no proof has been provided”.Diplomats say that INF-related problems are not new.“They are well known to both sides and they have to be addressed on a daily basis without using ‘loudspeaker diplomacy’,” the ministry said, quoted by Itar-Tass.

This work was undertaken before.

“We have many complaints to make to the United States with regard to the Treaty. These include missile defence target missiles having characteristics similar to those of shorter- and intermediate-range missiles and the production by the Americans of armed drones which clearly fall under the land-based cruise missiles as defined in the Treaty,” the ministry said.

MK 41 Vertical Launching Systems have increasingly been in the focus of attention lately as the U.S. is planning to deploy them in Poland and Romania as part of its global missile defence plan, the ministry said.

“These systems can launch intermediate-range cruise missiles and their land-based version can be regarded as a direct violation of the INF Treaty,” the ministry said.

Russia has repeatedly informed the United States of its concerns about the INF Treaty but Washington remained deaf to them, it said.

 “Washington does not want to listen to us. As on other disputable issues, they listen to themselves only,” it added.

However, Moscow hopes to receive Washington’s explanations regarding its questions about the INF Treaty and assurances of its readiness to work together to ensure its enforcement and make it more effective, the ministry said.

In a letter to President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama accused Russia of being in breach of the treaty’s obligation not to have, manufacture and test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 500 to 5,500 km or not have and manufacture launching systems for such missile.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by and between the United States and the Soviet Union. It eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges, defined as between 500-5,500 km (300-3,400 miles).
It was the first time the two superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and conduct extensive on-site verification inspections. As a result, the United States and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles.