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Will take measures to ensure security if US leaves INF missile treaty: Russia

US President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Moscow, Russia Feb 08, 2019, 09.03 AM (IST)

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow will take comprehensive measures to ensure its security if the United States leaves the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Ryabkov said at a press conference that Russia is open to dialogue concerning the INF Treaty if the US will return to complying with the treaty.

He said that on February 2nd, the Russian embassy in Washington received a note from the US Department of State with official notification about the US leaving the treaty.

In a response note on February 4, the Russian foreign ministry said that Moscow would suspend its obligations under the treaty "for the period before the United States returns to strict compliance with the treaty or until its termination," according to Ryabkov.

He then recalled that to save the INF Treaty, Russia has done its utmost to engage the US in conversation and offering concrete initiatives to find a solution.

However, Ryabkov said all Russia's efforts were ignored or blocked by the United States.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty, citing Russia's violation of the deal, a claim that has been repeatedly denied by Moscow.

Pompeo's announcement, made nearly 60 days after Washington threatened to quit the historic INF Treaty, will start a six-month countdown period, which will lead to a permanent exit from the pact inked in 1987 between the US and the then-Soviet Union.

The INF Treaty marked the first-ever pact reached by Washington and Moscow on nuclear disarmament and a major step forward in restricting the arms race.

However, the two sides have accused each other of violating the arms control agreement in recent years amid increasing tensions.

Story highlights

The Russian foreign ministry said that Moscow would suspend its obligations under the treaty "for the period before the United States returns to strict compliance with the treaty or until its termination