The 60-day ultimatum declared by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Russia to comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is aimed at accusing Moscow of refusing to honor the arms control deal, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Wednesday.
“The appeal by US Secretary of State Pompeo for Russia to come to compliance with the INF Treaty is not an invitation to discuss the means of preserving it. This is a rude ultimatum, which the US has given just for one goal: to show the world and its allies that it’s not they who ruin this vital international security pillar, but it’s Russia, which has allegedly refused to honor it, despite being given a chance,” Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement that the alliance gives Russia the last chance to save the INF Treaty confirms this, according to the Russian senator.
These statements lack logics since the US is refusing to discuss the details and provide evidence that Russia has violated the treaty. “That is to say we believe that you breached the treaty, but we won’t show anything to anyone. There is such a feeling that the West’s logics regarding the most serious international issues has turned into a total theatre of absurd dubbed ‘highly likely’,” the senator said.
Kosachev voiced regret for the European countries, which sacrifice the INF Treaty to the US, although this deal is more important for them. “Today’s statements of the US and NATO are a total shame for Europe,” he said.
US NATO ultimatum
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced on Tuesday that the US would stop adhering to the treaty unless Russia returns to compliance with it within 60 days. “The United States declares today it has found Russia in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance,” Pompeo told a NATO meeting.
US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov described this as a dangerous move. Washington was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, because in its opinion Moscow had apparently violated the treaty.
The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles.
In recent years, Washington has repeatedly alleged Russia was in breach of the agreement. Moscow strongly dismissed the charges and countered them with its own claims over the United States’ non-compliance.