Moscow, Sep 25 (GCCurrentAffairs) Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to the leaders of a number of countries, including NATO members, with a proposal to introduce a moratorium on the deployment of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in Europe and other regions, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported, citing sources.
The message on the subject of the INF Treaty was sent on September 19, NATO diplomat, who arrived at the 74th session of the UN Nations General Assembly, told the media outlet. In addition, according to the publication, the Russian leader sent the same messages to a number of non-NATO states, such as China. Also, a similar letter was received by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“Russia has already announced its decision not to deploy medium- and shorter-range missiles in Europe or other regions, while the Americans are refraining from it. [We] have called on the United States and its allies to make similar commitments, but we are not seeing any mutual interest. We urge you to support our efforts in favor of the announcement within the framework of NATO of a moratorium on the deployment of a land-based INF missile similar to that announced by Russia,” Putin’s message read, as cited by the Kommersant newspaper.
According to the letter, the moratorium on the INF missile deployment will require additional verification measures, especially in conditions where medium-range missile launchers have already been deployed in Europe.
“It follows from Vladimir Putin’s message that even without the INF Treaty, Russia is ready to agree on some verification measures with NATO,” the media outlet reported.
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that “Russia has not tested and does not have, unlike the United States, medium and shorter-range missiles,” and also “does not plan to deploy such missiles either in Europe or in other regions of the world, until a similar US-made weapon appears there.”
The INF Treaty, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, required the countries to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,417 miles).
The United States withdrew from the INF Treaty on August 2 after formally suspending its INF obligations six months earlier. Moscow suspended its own participation in the pact in July as a response. Both countries have repeatedly accused one another of violating the 1987 treaty.