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  • S-400 surface-to-air missile system at a military base near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019.

    S-400 surface-to-air missile system at a military base near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 June 2019
Opinion

Now, both Moscow and Washington have suspend their 1988 treaty to reduce short- and medium-range missles.

Russia's lower house, or State Duma, has approved a law to suspend the 1988 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a multilateral agreement signed by Russia and the United States that prohibits deploying or testing both short- (500-1000 km) and medium-range (1,000-5,500 km) missiles.

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"We are making this decision based on the need to protect our national interests," Duma spokesperson, Vyacheslav Volodin, said Tuesday after the vote and added, "the U.S. has unilaterally suspended the treaty, putting the entire global security system at risk," according to state media.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Feb. 2 that his country would stop fulfilling its obligations under the INF treaty, alleging that Russia was not complying with the arms control pact.

Russian President Vladimir Putin replied that the U.S. was the one violating the treaty's clauses through medium-range missile tests and the deployment of cruise missile launch systems in Romania and Poland. On May 30, the Russian head of state presented the INF-suspension proposal to the Duma.

Previously, the U.S. had demanded Russia destroy the Novator 9M729 cruise missile because the U.S. military believed that it could exceed the 500 km range, although it only had a 480 km launch distance.

The technicality seemed to indicate the Trump administartion was preparing to abandon the INF treaty when, at the same time two years ago, the government contrated with an Arizona facility to manufacture short and medium range missiles.

Russia's International Affairs Committee within the Senate will begin to debate the measure June 26.

"If the Duma sends us the necessary documents ... we will consider them in the June 26 session," Russian Senator Sergei Tsekov, told Sputnik.

The INF Treaty prevented tensions to rise regarding the presence of missiles in Europe since the agreement was ratified by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. 

The Kremlin criticized U.S. President Donald Trump last week for pledging to Polish President Andrzej Duda that he would deploy an extra 1,000 troops to Poland as well as surveillance drones. Putin later commented Russia-U.S. relations are getting worse, particularly due to the sanctions imposed by Washington on Moscow.​​​​​​​

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