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US purposefully undermined arms control treaty: Russia

Russia has hit out at the US for scrapping an arms control agreement, saying Washington "intentionally" plunged the bilateral Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty into a crisis, as it wanted to "free itself from the existing restrictions".
US purposefully undermined arms control treaty: Russia

The statement came even as the US announced plans to accelerate its development of new cruise and ballistic missile systems following its withdrawal from a INF treaty with Russia.

Accusing the US of "blatant disregard for Russia's serious concerns regarding its compliance with the INF Treaty", Moscow said Washington's deployment of Mk 41 launchers at US military bases in Europe was "already a grave violation" of the treaty.

The Russian foreign ministry alleged that "through its purposeful actions the US first undermined the INF Treaty, and then moved to set the stage for its definitive breakdown".

It said Washington's "misguided attitude" was present earlier too, in the late 1990s during its decision 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," it said.

With the INF treaty no longer in place, immediate steps to stabilise the situation and preserve the necessary level of predictability in Russia's relations with the US have to be taken, it said.

It said Russia has 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 US will not deploy its intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles".

It called on the US to "renounce deploying missiles of these classes", and added that "it is unfortunate that the Pentagon has been proactive in communicating on their development".

It asked the US to take "necessary steps to ensure global stability and predictability otherwise, all the responsibility for escalating tensions across the world will rest with Washington".

It said Russia is open to constructive dialogue with the US for restoring trust and strengthening international security, and hoped the US would "adopt a responsible approach to this matter".

In Washington, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper accused Russia of "sustained and repeated violations" of the INF treaty, and said the US had already begun work to develop "mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems."

( With inputs from IANS )

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