Russia ‘can deal with challenges’ post INF treaty collapse

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Moscow, Aug 5 (IANS) Russia will be able to cope with new challenges to its security after the dismantling of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at the US initiative, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

“Amid the new threats generated by the US, we of course will take comprehensive measures to ensure our own security,” Ryabkov said at a news briefing.

He urged Washington “to show responsibility and follow the example of Russia to abandon the deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles”, which the Pentagon has talked about, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ryabkov said Russia will not deploy medium and shorter-range ground-based missiles in Europe or in other regions until US weapons of these kinds appear there.

According to the Minister, Russia was still open to equal and constructive dialogue with the US on the treaty and other strategic stability issues based on mutual respect and mutual consideration of interests.

The consultation process between Russia and the US on arms control issues with an emphasis on their nuclear missile components, which resumed on July 17 in Geneva, should be continued, Ryabkov said.

Moscow and Washington formally withdrew from the INF Treaty last week after accusing each other of violating the landmark arms control deal.

The treaty was signed in 1987 between the former Soviet Union and the US on the elimination of ground-based medium- and shorter-range missiles.

Russia and the US should now concentrate on preserving what remains of the international arms control architecture, primarily the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, Ryabkov said.

If this agreement is not extended beyond February 5, 2021, it would be an even more severe blow to the international security system when it expires, he warned.

–IANS

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