INF row: Urged US, NATO for moratorium on deployment of intermediate-range missiles, says Russia

AFP Moscow, Russia Aug 02, 2019, 01.57 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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'This moratorium would be comparable to one already announced by Vladimir Putin, saying that if the United States does not deploy this equipment in certain regions, then Russia will also refrain from doing so,' deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told reports.

Russia on Friday called on the US to implement a moratorium on deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles, as Washington was officially dropping a major Cold War-era arms treaty.

"We have suggested to the US and other NATO members to consider announcing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range missiles," deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency.

"This moratorium would be comparable to one already announced by Vladimir Putin, saying that if the United States does not deploy this equipment in certain regions, then Russia will also refrain from doing so," he added.

Washington has long accused Moscow of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) deal, a charge Russia denies.

On Friday the United States was scheduled to formally exit the deal after launching the withdrawal process this year.

Ryabkov also questioned NATO promises not to deploy nuclear missiles in Europe.

"So far, NATO members have assured us that there are no plans regarding the possible deployment of such nuclear equipment," he said. 

"But such assurances cannot be taken for granted... the Alliance has repeatedly violated its own promises in the past and changed its own plans."