MOSCOW Russia on Sunday warned US President Donald Trump that his plan to ditch a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Moscow was a dangerous step.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said this would be a very dangerous step and accused the US of risking international condemnation in a bid for total supremacy in the military sphere.
He insisted that Moscow observed in the strictest way the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, while accusing Washington of flagrant violations. The treaty was signed in 1987 by the then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
But Trump on Saturday blamed Russia for violating it.
Were the ones who have stayed in the agreement and weve honoured the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honoured the agreement, so were going to terminate the agreement and were going to pull out, he told reporters.
Russia has violated the agreement. Theyve been violating it for many years. I dont know why president (Barack) Obama didnt negotiate or pull out. And were not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons (while) were not allowed to.
Trumps National Security Adviser John Bolton was set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday evening and meet next week with Russias Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
That comes ahead of what is expected to be a second summit between Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin this year.
Bolton was also set to meet Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Putin aide Yuri Ushakov. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a possible meeting was being arranged between Putin and Bolton.
Deputy foreign minister Ryabkov said he hoped that Trumps national security adviser would explain the US plans more substantively and clearly. The US administration has complained of Moscows deployment of 9M729 missiles, which Washington says can travel more than 500 kilometres, and thus violate the INF treaty.
The treaty, which banned missiles that could travel between 500 and 5472 kilometres, resolved a crisis that had begun in the 1980s with the deployment of Soviet SS-20 nuclear-tipped, intermediate-range ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals.
A Russian foreign ministry official earlier accused Washington of implementing policy toward dismantling the nuclear deal.
Washington has approached this step over the course of many years by deliberately and step by step destroying the basis for the agreement, said the unnamed official, quoted by Russias three main news agencies.
The official accused the US of backing out of international agreements that put it on an equal footing with other countries because it wanted to protect American exceptionalism.
Russian senator Alexei Pushkov wrote on Twitter that the move was the second powerful blow against the whole system of strategic stability in the world after Washingtons 2001 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.
And again, the initiator of the dissolution of the agreement is the US, he added.
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