Russia condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of a decadeslong nuclear deal signed between the two countries during the Cold War.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Russia’s state-run TASS news agency it would be a “very dangerous step” for the United States to back out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“Apparently, inability and unwillingness to come to terms with us on a sound foundation push certain forces in Washington to encourage the country’s leadership to make a decision on a formal withdrawal from the treaty,” Ryabkov said. “This would be a very dangerous step, which, I’m sure, won’t be just understood by the international community, but arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community, who are committed to security and stability, and are ready to work on strengthening the current regimes in arms control.”
On Saturday, Trump confirmed the United States would pull out of the agreement signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, which bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 310 and 3,417 miles, unless Russia and other countries stop violating its terms.
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Ryabkov said Russia has strictly adhered to the treaty, and accused the United States of violating its terms and seeking to exit the deal as it “creates problems for pursuing the line towards the U.S. total domination in military sphere.”
He also referred to efforts by the Inited States to get out of the deal as “blackmail” with the purpose of achieving concessions from Moscow in international security issues.
“We condemn the continuing attempts to achieve Russia’s concessions through blackmail, moreover in such an issue which has importance for international security and security in the nuclear weapons sphere, for maintaining strategic stability,” he said.
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Ryabkov told Sputnik that Russia would adopt a number of retaliatory measures if the United States continues to unilaterally withdraw from agreements.
“The issue is too serious to be dealt with through public debate. If the United States continues to act so clumsily and harshly, as we can see it do on numerous occasions,” he said. “If it continues to unilaterally withdraw from agreements, different kinds of accords and mechanisms … then we will have nothing left to do but to take retaliatory measures, including ones of military and technological nature.”
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was scheduled to arrive in Moscow Sunday, where Ryabkov said he hoped to hear “more details and clarifications on what steps the U.S. side is planning to take.”