Another nuclear pact with US in trouble: Russian official


President Trump gave notice of withdrawal from the 1987 treaty abolishing intermediate-range ground-based nuclear missiles, known as INF. "We will strengthen the Armed Forces and enhance the defense capacity, the statehood, the union of Belarus and Russian Federation; we should do all this", Andrei Ravkov noted.

The United States could begin research and development on weapons previously barred by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, according to multiple USA officials - a move likely to play into concerns about a new nuclear arms race.

"Under my administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests", Trump told United States lawmakers assembled in the House chamber.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and begin a six-month withdrawal process.

"Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't-in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far", Trump said during his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

Now that both countries have suspended it, the treaty will expire in six months if the U, S. and Moscow can not come to an agreement.

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"Over the same period we will also have to create a land-based missile system with a long-range hypersonic missile", he said.

"If the United States reconsiders its destructive line and returns to compliance with the INF Treaty, Russia is open to meaningful dialogue on the subject of the treaty and other issues of strategic stability", Ryabkov told a press conference.

In addition, he stressed that the use of target rockets and the deployment of Mk 41 launchers in Europe since 2014 by the United States was a direct violation of the arms control treaty and reiterated that Moscow had been fully complying with the agreement.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russian Federation of violating the 1987 treaty with the development of its 9M729 ground-based missile systems (known as the SSC-8 under USA classification), which Washington claimed had a range of over 1,000 km, while the agreement bans missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km.

The INF Treaty marked the first-ever pact reached by Washington and Moscow on nuclear disarmament and a major step forward in restricting the arms race.