Moscow, Oct 27 : Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to jointly de-escalate the situation in Europe since the termination of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
In a statement published by the Kremlin, Putin on Monday criticized the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty last year, which led to the collapse of the pact, increasing the risk of an arms race and intensifying Russia-NATO confrontation, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Active efforts are required to reduce the deficit of confidence, strengthen regional and global stability, as well as lower the risks arising from misunderstandings and disagreements in the field of missile weapons,” he said.
Putin reaffirmed “Russia’s adherence to its earlier announced moratorium on the deployment of land-based INF until American-made missiles of similar classes appear”.
He called on NATO countries to declare a similar moratorium as Russia did.
“We are ready to take further steps to minimize the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF Treaty based on the principles of equal and indivisible security as well as balanced consideration of all parties’ interests,” Putin said.
The Russian President also proposed mutual verification measures regarding the Aegis Ashore systems with Mk-41 launchers at US and NATO bases in Europe, as well as 9M729 missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad region.
He said Russia is ready to refrain from deploying 9M729 missiles in the European part of the country, only if NATO countries take reciprocal steps, excluding the deployment in Europe of weapons previously prohibited by the INF Treaty.
On August 2, Washington withdrew from the INF Treaty and declared that the US-Russian bilateral nuclear disarmament era had ended.
The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the former Soviet Union and the US on the elimination of ground-based intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.