NATO holds Russia responsible for U.S. decision to scrap INF Treaty

 NATO holds Russia responsible for U.S. decision to scrap INF Treaty

NATO has laid responsibility on Russia for the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), noting that Moscow 'highly likely' violates this agreement, NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said.

She recalled that NATO Allies have repeatedly raised their concerns about Russia's lack of respect for its international commitments, including for the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was concluded in 1987 between the United States and the Soviet Union. "At the NATO Summit in July [in Brussels], Allies stressed that the United States is in compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty, while a pattern of behavior over many years has led to widespread doubts about Russian compliance," the spokesperson stressed.

Lungescu also recalled that in its statement after the Brussels summit, NATO voiced concerns over Russia’s 9M729 missile system. "After years of denials and obfuscation, Russia recently acknowledged the existence of the missile system without providing the necessary transparency and explanation. In the absence of any credible answer from Russia on this new missile, Allies believe that the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty," TASS cited her as saying.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. At the same time, he did not rule out signing a new agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces with Moscow and Beijing if Russia and China provide guarantees of halting the production of such weapons.

According to the US data, which was shared with NATO allies, Russia allegedly started deploying its newest missiles 9M729, what Washington claims is a violation of the 1987 treaty. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US accusations that the 9M729 range exceeds the limits stipulated by the treaty have not been proven.