A new arms race has begun - Gorbachev on Trump's INF pullout plan

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks during the second day of the 14th Manama dialogue Security Summit in Manama Bahrain

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks during the second day of the 14th Manama dialogue Security Summit in Manama Bahrain

The INF treaty defused the situation, but both sides now accuse each other of breaking the agreement.

Washington should be clear on what it will do in the area of arms control after its withdrawal from the key INF Treaty with Russia, Lavrov told Rossiya 1 TV channel.

Russia's top diplomat stressed that at the October 23 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton in Moscow both the Russian and United States sides admitted the importance of holding a bilateral dialogue on all issues related to strategic security. Among those who voted down the draft were the UK, Germany, France, and, of course, the US.Washington's decision to scrap the Cold War-era agreement alarmed both Europe and Moscow, which warned it would " make the world a more unsafe place" and vowed retaliation.Washington has accused Russian Federation of building missiles prohibited by the INF, while Moscow argued that American missile defense complexes in Europe can be easily turned into offensive weapons.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated Sunday that the US President's National Security Adviser John Bolton had played a crucial role in Washington's move. Instead, Moscow has accused Washington of breaching the treaty with its missile defense installations in Europe, an allegation the State Department has refuted.

In addition to Gorbachev's piece, the Times published on Thursday an op-ed in which George Shultz, Reagan's former secretary of state, argued that "now is not the time to build larger arsenals of nuclear weapons". Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the U.S. side.

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Recall that in 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced plans to deploy hundreds of US intermediate-range Pershing II missiles in Western Europe in response to the Soviet Union's deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles. He said Moscow only recently admitted producing a ground-launched missile but maintained it didn't violate the range limits. The administration announced that "the United States is considering the deployment of ground-based missiles in Europe", that is, the abandonment of the INF Treaty.

The United States needs to substantiate its claims of Russia's INF treaty violations with satellite data, Lavrov said. "That is not to mean that we are walking away from arms control".

Moscow sees the USA decision to quit the historic INF accord as an "objective fact" and has started working on responses to claims of pact violations, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

'We're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to'. The fact that Beijing has such missiles, while the United States does not, puts the United States at a strategic disadvantage in any conflict with Beijing. The pact eliminated all short- and intermediate-range land-based nuclear and conventional missiles held by both countries in Europe.

"We are in consultations with our European counterparts", Mattis said.

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