The Indian Wire » World » Russia agrees existence of cruise missile but says did not violate treaty: NATO diplomats

Russia agrees existence of cruise missile but says did not violate treaty: NATO diplomats

Russia acknowledged the existence of a cruise missile system, which prompted the United States to agree to quit the 1987 INF disarmament treaty, said NATO diplomats and the US officials on Monday, adding that Russia has, however, denied any violation to the pact.

Two weeks before the planned withdrawal of the US from the pact, Washington disarmament ambassador in Geneva said still there was time for Russia to destroy their cruise missile system.

But after a session of the U.N.-sponsored conference on disarmament, Russian diplomat Alexander Deyneko told Reuters: “We shall not yield to any ultimatums like to liquidate or to eliminate (a) missile that doesn’t fall within the range of the treaty prohibitions.”

Russia denied developing what the US intelligence calls the SSC-8/9M729 cruise missile system.

US ambassador Rober Wood said the Missile was a “potent and direct threat to Europe and Asia, as it was over the 500 km range up to 1,500 km.

“Russia must verifiably destroy all SSC-8 missiles, launchers and associated equipment in order to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty,” Wood said.

“Unfortunately, the United States increasingly finds that Russia cannot be trusted to comply with its arms control obligations and that its coercive and malign actions around the globe have increased tensions.”

After a meeting in Geneva with Russian officials last week, the US said Russia’s offer to save the pact, negotiated by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, was not considered as genuine as it couldn’t be verified.

In order to fulfill his threat, the US President Donald Trump would start withdrawing from the pact on February 2 amid the impasse, which could potentially allow the US to develop its own medium-ranged missile systems. However, the US will still have six months to formally complete its withdrawal from the pact.

NATO, the US alliance, said it had not yet given up bringing back Russia into compliance. 29 ambassador of NATO will hold a special NATO-Russia Council with Yuri Gorlach, Russia’s acting envoy to the alliance, on Friday.

NATO diplomats told Reuters that European members of the alliance led by Germany hoped the US would make a final call to convince Russia to come under the line, or possibly to renegotiate the INF to include China.

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