TOKYO (Sputnik) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has called on the leaders of Russia and the United States to personally engage in the settlement of a dispute around compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The INF Treaty was signed by Gorbachev and then US President Ronald Reagan on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. The Treaty prohibits the development, deployment and testing medium-range (1,000-5,500 kilometers, or 620 — 3,420 miles) and shorter-range (500-1,000 kilometers) ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles. They sides also pledged to eliminate all launchers and ground-based missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers. The United States and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of violating the accord.
“Now the task of preserving disarmament agreements is one of the most important… I urged the presidents of Russia and the US to tackle the problem personally; to reaffirm commitments to the treaty, and to instruct diplomats and militaries to solve the problems,” Gorbachev said on Saturday in an interview with Japan’s Kyodo News.
Gorbachev noted that the international nuclear disarmament treaties, including the INF Treaty, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), were “all are parts of a single architecture that can collapse if one of its elements is undermined.”
“We must not forget that the movement towards a world without nuclear weapons is the most important obligation of the nuclear powers enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Gorbachev stressed.
On December 14, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual press conference that the United States had de facto withdrawn from the treaty, when it deployed the missile launch systems in Romania, so all accusations were intended to present Russia as a treaty violator and use this as a reason for an official withdrawal. Moscow has no intention to withdraw from any treaty shaping the international security, the president added.
In late December, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted two Russian defense companies, Novator and Titan-Barrikady, for alleged violations of the INF Treaty.