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Russia Welcomes US Offer to Hold Special INF Treaty Commission in November

© Sputnik / Vladimir RodionovA bundle of three Soviet RSD-10 missiles prepared for demolition at the Kapustin Yar launch site. The missiles were destroyed in accordance with the INF Treaty.
A bundle of three Soviet RSD-10 missiles prepared for demolition at the Kapustin Yar launch site. The missiles were destroyed in accordance with the INF Treaty. - Sputnik International
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Russia welcomes the United States' offer to to convene a Special Verification Commission (SVC) of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty next month, the Russian Foreign Ministry's head of Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department said Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Mikhail Ulyanov told RIA Novosti that the SVC is envisioned in the 1987 INF Treaty, with its functioning parameters outlined in a Soviet-US memorandum followed by a five-party memorandum with the participation of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus.

"In accordance with the rules, any party may convene the SVC meeting. The US took advantage of their right, we have responded positively, that is their right. They have now decided to use this platform to continue the conversation 13 years after the previous meeting, when the US curtailed the work of this commission," Ulyanov said.

He added that Moscow plans to discuss three topics with the US at the SVC session in Geneva sometime in mid-November.

"The first two are combat drones and target drones. These questions have been 'stalled' since 2001, when we first voiced concerns to the US and are yet to receive a satisfactory response," Ulyanov said.

"The third question is about Mk-41 launchers, which arose in connection with the construction of missile defense components in Romania. It is relatively new at two-three years, but here we have not received convincing answers. The US reacts very superficially, and that creates problems," the official stressed.

US Navy flag bearers, backdropped by the radar building of a missile defense base, walk in Deveselu, during an opening ceremony attended by U.S., NATO and Romanian officials at a base, originally established by the Soviet Union, in Deveselu, Southern Romania, Thursday, May 12, 2016. - Sputnik International
Moscow: Deployment of US Missile Base in Romania Undermines INF Agreements
The 1987 INF treaty prohibits the development, deployment or testing of ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

In May, the United States activated its Aegis ashore ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) in Romania equipped with the Mk-41 launcher. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the deployment of Mk-41 Vertical Launching Systems (VLS) in Europe "a relatively new and rather serious violation of the INF Treaty." Moscow claims Mk-41 is capable of launching the Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles. Such a capability is prohibited by the INF Treaty.

Another Aegis ashore site is under construction in Poland. These sites are parts of the US-designated ballistic missile defense system in Europe, approved in 2010 during a NATO summit in Lisbon.

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