INF Treaty update
We have noted the continued complaints about Russia “violating” the INF Treaty in the NATO leadership’s public rhetoric on the subject, while urging the Russian side to “show political will and abide by the Treaty to save it.” As we understand it, such rhetoric will increase as we approach August 2, when the United States withdrawal procedure will be completed, destroying it completely. What Russia has to do with this is completely incomprehensible. As far as we understand, by replicating the accusations against our country, NATO representatives are trying to help Washington camouflage the true causes of the INF collapse and to divert attention from America’s true intentions by creating a kind of propaganda veil with such comments and statements.
On June 4, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made another statement of this kind. As a reminder, Russia has made every effort to save the Treaty. We have proposed to Washington a series of realistic measures based on mutual transparency to reconcile the mutual grievances, including Russia’s long-standing concerns we have repeatedly informed the American side of and spoken about publicly. However, as you know, all Russian initiatives were rejected. Washington refused not only to address the issues related to their compliance with the INF, but even to participate in Russia’s goodwill initiative to demonstrate its missile system, which allegedly worried the US and other NATO countries so much. Anyone interested in this topic had the opportunity to attend the presentation. There were experts and specialists present who could answer any questions. Let me remind you that Washington also forbade its NATO allies to attend the presentation.
So, if the NATO Secretary General really supports preserving the INF Treaty, then it would be logical to expect him to primarily urge the US to return to the negotiating table and address the INF crisis.
Source: Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, June 5, 2019