Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Sunday warned United States President Donald Trump that he would be taking a “very dangerous step” if he pulls Washington out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, AFP reported. On Saturday, Trump said the US would exit the treaty since Russia had been violating the agreement “for many years”.
“This would be a very dangerous step that, I am sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” BBC quoted Ryabkov as saying.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed in 1987, mandated the elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries. The treaty was signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Ryabkov alleged that Washington wanted to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail”.
“The Americans themselves both at the level of the executive branch of government and the level of the Congress have tied the prospect of preserving the New START Treaty to the situation around the INF Treaty,” the Interfax news agency quoted the minister as saying. “They have made this connection. These are their erroneous ideas of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in the field of international security and at the negotiating table.”
Meanwhile, Gorbachev also said Trump’s plan was a mistake, Reuters reported, quoting an Interfax story. “Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements,” said the former Soviet Union leader. “Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to? Quitting the INF is a mistake.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who will visit Moscow later this week, is expected to inform Russia about the Trump administration’s decision.