Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he hopes for the resumption of a comprehensive negotiating process on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"It is more important to maintain dialogue not even at a top or high level but at a level of experts. I hope a comprehensive negotiating process will be resumed," he said in an interview with RT on Sunday.
Putin stressed that Russia is ready for dialogue. "It is not us who are withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. It is the US that plans to do that," he said. "Both tey and we want to resume dialogue."
Situation around INF Treaty
The INF, or The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. In 1992, following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the treaty was multilateralized with the former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine - as successors. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).
In the recent years, Washington has been accusing Russia of violating the treaty, while Moscow has been rejecting these allegations and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US side.
US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov described this decision as a dangerous step. Washington’s decision came under criticism from Berlin and Beijing. However London expressed support to the US’ stance and NATO placed responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia which, it claims, may violate the treaty.