Row Over Inf Treaty: US exit would not mean new Cold War | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, February 05, 2019

Row Over Inf Treaty: US exit would not mean new Cold War

Says Russian FM

The United States' full withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty would not herald the start of a new Cold War, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying yesterday.

“I don't think we're talking about the development of a Cold War,” Lavrov said. “A new era has begun.”

Russia suspended the Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty on Saturday after the United States announced it would withdraw from the arms control pact, accusing Moscow of violations.

Russia would "not be drawn into a costly new arms race", President Putin said in a televised meeting with foreign and defence ministers Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, adding it would only deploy intermediate- and short-range missiles in response to similar moves from the US.

"We will wait until our partners have matured enough to conduct an equal, meaningful dialogue with us on this important topic," Putin added.

On Friday, Trump said Washington would start a process to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement within six months.

Both countries have accused each other of violating the INF arms control agreement concluded between the US and the former Soviet Union in 1987.

Brokered by US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty ended a superpower buildup of warheads that had frightened Europe.

It banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (300 to 3,400 miles).

The deal addressed Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals, but put no restrictions on other major military actors such as China.

The US in December gave Moscow a 60-day deadline to dismantle missiles it said breached the agreement.

But Moscow insists the disputed 9M729 missile is allowed under the treaty.

Nato has said that US allies "fully support" its withdrawal from the pact, and agreed that Russia's 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems violates the treaty.

Lavrov at Saturday's meeting voiced concerns that Washington's decision to withdraw from the INF could jeopardise the extension of the New START treaty.

That agreement, which caps the number of nuclear warheads held by Washington and Moscow, expires in 2021.

 

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