12:54 GMT +307 December 2019
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    US Budget Provided Funds For Medium, Short-Range Missiles Year Before it Left INF - Shoigu

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    Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Sunday that Russia had never refused to hold talks with the US on the INF Treaty and has always shown transparency in its actions.

    "We have never refused dialogue [with Washington], we had offered it from February to August [2019]. We showed our openness. We showed [the United States] the missile that caused doubt. The Americans did not come to us”, Shoigu said in an interview with the TV channel Rossiya 24.

    Speaking further, the Russian defence minister said that funds for the development of medium and short-range missiles were included in the US budget a year before the country left the INF Treaty.

    "In fact, eight months, almost a year before this decision [withdrawal from the INF] was made the [US] budget had included funds for the development of such missiles. These funds were approved, allocated, and aimed at starting the development of such missiles”, Shoigu said in an interview with the TV channel Rossiya 24.

    Earlier this week, State Department Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Andrea Thompson said that the US was consulting its allies over a possible deployment of medium-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region amid the withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

    The INF Treaty, a landmark nuclear pact signed in the Cold War era, came to an end on 2 August after the United States repeatedly accused Russia of breaching the accord, a claim denied by Moscow.

    Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty required that the two countries eliminate and permanently refrain from the development of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,417 miles).

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