Beijing: Russia has again slammed the United States over its 60-day ultimatum for Moscow’s compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, calling it a “game made to cover up their domestic decision to withdraw”.
“The United States imposed a 60-day period during which we had to fulfill their ultimatum. I conclude that the United States was not expecting any decision and all this was a game made to cover their domestic decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty,” Sputnik quoted Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying in Beijing.
Ryabkov’s comments came just after he held talks with the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Andrea Thompson, on the sidelines of a nuclear weapons meeting here.
Russia outlined its resolution to continue working towards a settlement over the arms control treaty which dates back to the Cold War era.
Moscow’s deputy Foreign Minister also said that Washington has taken a “destructive” position on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. He stated that there may be a suspension of US obligations under the agreement this weekend, with the 60 days inching to a close.
US President Donald Trump had, in October last year, announced Washington’s plan to withdraw from the INF Treaty.
Following this, the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo issued the 60-day ultimatum to Russia for their compliance to the treaty, failing which the USA would withdraw from the treaty on February 2.
The Treaty, sealed in the waning days of the Soviet Union in 1987, bans ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The Trump administration announced last October that, because of Russian violations dating back several years, it was planning to pull the United States from the pact.
The INF treaty was signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to limit the arms race between both the countries.