On August 2, the United States completed the withdrawal from the INF Treaty. Accordingly, this instrument ceased to have effect.
Washington has committed a grave mistake. By launching a propaganda campaign based on deliberately misleading information on what was presented as violations of the INF Treaty by Russia, the United States intentionally plunged the Treaty into a crisis that was almost impossible to overcome. The cause is however clear: the United States wanted to free itself from the existing restrictions.
For many years Washington showed blatant disregard for Russia’s serious concerns regarding its compliance with the INF Treaty. The deployment at US military bases in Europe of Mk 41 launchers that have the capability to launch intermediate-range cruise missiles was already a grave violation of the Treaty.
Instead of reviewing mutual concerns in a meaningful and professional manner, the United States issued ultimatums against Russia that were unacceptable by definition. All our proposals regarding viable solutions to settle the existing problems based on mutual transparency measures were turned down.
The representatives of the United States hypocritically invoked considerations whereby the INF Treaty was obsolete and needed to “involve third countries.” While making these claims, they were clearly aware of the fact that the countries in question were not ready to assume the relevant treaty obligations.
Therefore, through its purposeful actions the United States first undermined the INF Treaty, and then moved to set the stage for its definitive breakdown. This is not the first time Washington has acted this way. This misguided attitude can be traced back to the late 1990s and the decision by the United States to dismantle the ABM Treaty despite insistent calls by the international community not to do so.
By denouncing the INF Treaty, the United States confirmed its commitment to abolishing all international instruments that do not suit it for one reason or another. This leads to an actual dismantlement of the existing arms control architecture.
With the INF Treaty no longer in force following Washington’s withdrawal from it, immediate steps to stabilise the situation and preserve the necessary level of predictability in Russia’s relations with the United States have to be taken. Russia has gone its part of the distance. We have already introduced a moratorium and will not deploy land-based intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles, should we acquire any, in the regions where the United States will not deploy its intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles.
We call on the United States to renounce deploying missiles of these classes, and it is unfortunate that the Pentagon has been proactive in communicating on their development. We call for following Russia’s example by taking the necessary steps to ensure global stability and predictability. Otherwise, all the responsibility for escalating tensions across the world will rest with Washington.
Russia remains open to equitable and constructive dialogue with the United States for restoring trust and strengthening international security. We hope that the United States adopts a responsible approach to this matter.