Allegations that Ukraine may restore its nuclear capacity after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty ceases to exist are irresponsible, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at the Primakov Readings international forum in Moscow on Tuesday.
"Even though it seems inevitable that the INF Treaty will cease to exist on August 2 and there will be no more obligations in this regard that Ukraine undertook after it had become party to the Treaty following the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine will still remain party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," he pointed out, TASS reports.
"This is why irresponsible allegations about the restoration of Ukraine’s nuclear capacity are an attack on one of the fundamental pillars of today’s world order," Ryabkov added.
INF: from inception to suspension
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 had accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.
On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue.
Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Treaty on March 4.