06:46 GMT +313 December 2017
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    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.

    Gorbachev: Political Will Is Needed to End US-Russia Row Over INF Treaty

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    The Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty banned the United States and the then Soviet Union from storing nuclear and conventional ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles).

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A present row between the United States and Russia over who has breached the 1987 INF Treaty can be resolved if both nations exercise political will, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has told Sputnik.

    "I think the matter is rooted in the general state of the US-Russian relations," Gorbachev, who signed the treaty with then US President Ronald Reagan, said. "I am confident that the issue of [arms] control can be resolved if there is goodwill. There are clearly technical and political aspects to this problem, and it is politics that has the final say,"  Gorbachev stressed.

    A decision to scrap the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) would lead to missiles being stationed on Russian and EU borders and deal a blow to nuclear non-proliferation, Gorbachev added.

    In September, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Russia of violating the treaty. The Russian Foreign Ministry said US accusations were groundless, adding Washington did not present any evidence to support its claims.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that, before the INF deal, US missile capabilities had already included air- and sea-launched missiles, while the Soviet Union had not developed such weapons. As the INF banned land-based missile launchers, the disarmament was done unilaterally by the Soviet Union.

    In turn, Russia created its own air- and sea-launched missiles to catch up with the US missile capabilities, the president said. Moscow has complied with and will comply with all the terms of earlier pacts until its partners do, Vladimir Putin added.

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    Tags:
    row, political will, missiles, disarmament, diplomacy, INF treaty, Rex Tillerson, Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Gorbachev, United States, Russia
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