Putin says Washington allocated funds for creating missiles even before official withdrawal from the treaty

Russia accuses US of nuclear treaty violation

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW

Russia on Wednesday raised concerns over U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear arms treaty saying the move will put global security and peace at risk.

Speaking at a conference, President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of allocating funds to create nuclear missiles even before officially ending the treaty.

“U.S. Congress, even before the announcement of Washington’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty, has allocated money for research and advanced development to create relevant missiles. That is, the decision was made long ago, only quietly, they thought that we would not notice it,” he said.

In an escalating war of words, the U.S. on Tuesday accused Russia of violating the treaty.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at NATO talks that Russia was “cheating”, adding that Washington after 60 days will activate a 6-month notice period to leave the pact, raising concerns of a global arms race.

Also on Wednesday, Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov said the U.S. has been testing target missiles of intermediate-range since 2000 in a violation of the treaty.

“If the treaty will be destroyed, it won’t be left unanswered from our side. (…) Not the U.S. but countries, which deployed the American systems with short- and intermediate-range missiles will be the targets for the Russian retaliatory measures,” he said.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was signed in 1987 by then Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan and was largely designed to stave off the prospects of nuclear war in Europe.

On Oct. 21, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the treaty.

Speaking about the situation in Syria, Gerasimov said that cease-fire violations had reduced considerably following the establishment of demilitarized zones in Idlib.

He slammed the U.S. presence in Syria calling it “illegal”.

“Americans reinforce the separatists sentiments of the Kurds by weapons and military equipment deliveries and let them mistreat the Arab tribes,” he said.

Gerasimov said “the U.S. desire to play a dominant role in the world” complicates the international situation.