Kremlin reassures suspension of INF Treaty would not usher a new Cold War age

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argued on Monday that both countries’ suspension of the INF Treaty provisions would not necessarily lead to a new Cold War confrontation. The suspension of the treaty instead ushers a new age, that of restarting negotiations over both powers’ military arsenals.

The international community half-heartedly received the news of Washington’s unilateral suspension from the treaty. On 2 February 2019 the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially declared suspension of the INF Treaty and revealed plans for eventual withdrawal in case Russia does not conform to stated provisions within a six-month interim period. The Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a response some hours later, claiming that Moscow also suspended the treaty’s provisions.

The U.S. has consistently criticised Russia in previous years for circumventing and/or neglecting different parts of the INF Treaty. According to Washington’s accusations, Moscow has violated the treaty in more than 60 instances, including development of new, outlawed by the treaty, weaponry for its nuclear arsenal. The Treaty, ratified in September 1987 by the two longstanding adversaries, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, envisioned the progressive abolition of ballistic missile systems with ranges extending up to 5.500 kilometres radius. Today, most ballistic missile systems have the radius capabilities to reach even the most distant areas of the world, effectively bypassing if not seriously undermining the INF treaty provisions.

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