Russia calls US withdrawal from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty ‘blackmail’

The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, wrote on his Facebook page that Donald Trump’s statement about withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is "an ongoing blackmail."

According to him, the United States as a nuclear power "destroys" this treaty unilaterally. Kosachev noted that the consequences of such actions would be catastrophic.

The senator explained that after the withdrawal, Washington would be able to deploy ground-launched missiles with a range of up to 5,500 km in close proximity to Russia. In addition, the termination of the INF Treaty will “destroy any prospects” of the renewal of the agreement on strategic attack weapons, which expires in 2021. “And from there, we are only a step away from breaking agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons,” said Kosachev. According to him, humanity is under the threat of "complete chaos" in the field of nuclear weapons.

Kosachev noted that Article 15 of the Treaty permits the unilateral withdrawal from the agreement, but with a justification of the decision within six months period. The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council said that so far no official steps had been taken to withdraw from the treaty. “Without a doubt, Americans are looking for any opportunities to destroy the system of agreements reached during the Cold War regarding the balance of nuclear forces in the world,” said Kosachev. He noted that Washington does not need the balance of forces, and wants to get unilateral military superiority in the sphere of nuclear and conventional armaments in order to “impose their will and interests on the world”.

"In a nuclear conflict, which, after the unilateral resolution of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by the United States will become much likely, only few will manage to survive," stated Kosachev.

On Sunday, October 21, during his speech in front of his supporters in Nevada, Trump announced that he wants to leave the INF Treaty. “We will not allow anyone to violate the terms of this agreement,” he said. Russia and the United States periodically accuse each other of violating this agreement.

In response to Trump’s words, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is ready to respond to Trump’s threat of withdrawing from the agreement. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov explained that Russia is prepared to respond if Washington continues to withdraw from agreements and arrangements unilaterally. He added that measures against the U.S. could be "of a military-technical nature."

  Russia, Kfremlin, INF Treaty, Trump