VIENNA (Sputnik) - Possible withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) may provoke an arms race, which must be avoided, the Austrian government spokesman told Sputnik on Monday.
"The INF Treaty on nuclear disarmament is extremely important for stability and peace in Europe and beyond. Any withdrawal from the treaty would lead to an arms race, which must be avoided. Europe is interested in reduced tensions between the United States and Russia so that they did not return to the Cold War level," Austrian Government spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the INF treaty over the alleged violations of the agreement by Russia. Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Moscow would formulate a position on the issue only after receiving official clarifications from Washington. He added that any action in this area would be met with a counteraction, stressing that parity would be maintained under any circumstances.
The INF treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in December 1987 and required the parties to destroy their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (from 311 to 3,317 miles). The United States and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of violating the treaty.