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    US May Be Dragging Out Time Until New START Treaty Expires - Moscow

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    MUNICH (Sputnik) - There is a growing risk that Washington is dragging out time by refusing to engage in a genuine dialogue on the Strategic Arms Reduction (New START) Treaty, so the sides would fail to extend the accord before its expiration, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.

    "We [Russia] went several extra miles with the US counterparts in order to present them with concrete and specific technical ideas how it can be done, how this problem can be fixed with no response, with no interest to continue this discussion", Ryabkov said.

    READ MORE: Russia to Try to Organise Consultations With US on New START Treaty — Lavrov

    "Thus, I believe there is a growing risk that this US administration just on purpose continues to talk on issues like ‘We have plenty of time,’ ‘Nothing to worry about’ and then the treaty just phases out as of February 2021. That would be another extraordinary shock for the arms control system and another severe blow inflicted on the international security by the United States of America," the Russian diplomat added.

    According to him, there is a need to address the issue of US compliance with the treaty with regard to a considerable number of the US strategic weapon delivery means, "which have been artificially withdrawn by the US side from the account according with the treaty" while being declared as converted into non-nuclear missions "in a manner that cannot be verified and acknowledged as an irreversible one by the Russian side."

    The New START Treaty, which entered into force in 2011, covers a 10-year period with the possibility of a five-year extension. The treaty is based on several previous joint non-proliferation arrangements and limits the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, nuclear-armed bombers, and nuclear warheads.

    Russian and American Missiles

    Addressing the INF Treaty issue, Ryabkovstressed that Moscow would maintain its unilateral moratorium on fielding and deploying intermediate-range ground-based missiles until the United States fields and deploys such arms.

    "It is up to the US to decide what to do next, how much the US and the European security would be put in jeopardy through this type of action. Russia will stay within its unilateral moratorium", he told the conference.

    READ MORE: 'Drones — Reusable', Aegis — Purely Defensive: US Reacts to INF Violation Claims

    Speaking at the same panel discussion, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson claimed that it was the United States that had become a victim of violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on part of Russia.

    She added that Washington was discussing with its allies what next steps to take if Russia failed to return to compliance with the treaty in the six months.

    The INF Treaty, which was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 and banned all ground-launched missiles, conventional or nuclear, with ranges of 310 to 3,400 miles, has recently become another contentious point in the relationship between the United States and Russia.

    The United States has been claiming that the range of Russia's 9M729 missile violates the treaty's limits, but Moscow has denied the allegations, stressing that they were unsubstantiated. Russia, in turn, has complained that US defense systems in Europe were equipped with launchers capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges prohibited under the INF treaty.

    Related:

    Russia to Try to Organise Consultations With US on New START Treaty - Lavrov
    Gorbachev Calls on US to Start Dialogue on INF Treaty With Russia
    US Lawmaker Urges Congress to Pass Bill Stopping Trump From Leaving INF Treaty
    Washington's Decision on Quitting INF Treaty is Premature - Ex-Envoy to Russia
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    START treaty, Sergei Ryabkov, United States, Russia
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