Europeans are not interested in the return of intermediate and short-range missiles, which prompted the Soviet Union and the United States more than thirty years ago to sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
"Of course, no one in Europe wants a repeat of the story, which actually prompted the signing of the relevant treaty," Lavrov said.
"As for the consequences of the US withdrawal from the INF, [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin has outlined our position very clearly: we will act in a tit-for-tat manner… But we will not create and deploy intermediate and short-range missiles in the regions where there will be no similar US-made systems," TASS quoted Russia’s top diplomat as saying.
On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the Treaty in six months, alleging that Russia is in breach of the document.
On February 2, Russian President Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.
On February 5, Trump mentioned the possibility of negotiating "a different agreement - adding China and others."
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.