18:08 GMT +317 November 2018
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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.

    Russia Considers US Decision to Exit INF Treaty an 'Objective Fact'

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated Sunday that the US President's National Security Adviser John Bolton had played a crucial role in Washington's move. As the top diplomat explained, the US wants to "compensate" for Asian countries having intermediate- and short-range ballistic missiles.

    "It is an objective fact for us that the decision [to withdraw] has been made and is being implemented," Lavrov said in the program "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on the Rossiya-1 TV channel.

    The minister went on to say that the US President's Security Adviser John Bolton might have played a crucial role in the decision-making on the issue.

    "Some say that in many respects [the US President's National Security Adviser] John Bolton played a decisive role, urging US President Donald Trump to announce the withdrawal from this treaty. I do not know what their ‘angle' is in Washington. I think there was a discussion on this issue among the heads of the US State Department, Mike Pompeo and the Pentagon, James Mattis," the minister stated.

    The top diplomat noted that Moscow has started preparing answers to the questions related to the arms control agreement delivered by US officials.

    "Just a week ago, a couple of days ahead of the [US] announcement of the aim to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, the Americans via their embassy in Moscow sent the Russian foreign ministry an extensive list of questions which are a concern to them," Lavrov said.

    Lavrov stated that the United States should reveal what are its plans in the arms control area after it decided to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia.

    "Since the United States has decided to… get rid of all international legal documents in the field of arms control they should tell what they are going to do in this area," Lavrov said in the "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" program on the Rossiya 1 TV channel stressing the need for transparency.

    As US President Donald Trump vowed, Washington will increase its nuclear potential until the rest "come to their senses", and only afterward the US will be ready to stop this process and even begin to reduce armaments. He explained that this message is addressed primarily toward China and Russia.

    READ MORE: Trump: US to Build Up Nuclear Arsenal Until Russia, China Come to Their Senses

    Prior to that, on October 20, Trump said the United States would pull out of the INF, accusing Moscow of violating the terms of the nuclear arms agreement. The Kremlin has rejected the accusations, stressing that the scrapping of the INF treaty would force Russia to take measures to ensure its security.

    In recent years, Moscow and Washington have regularly accused each other of violating the INF Treaty. Russia has repeatedly stated that it strictly complies with its obligations under the deal. Lavrov noted that Moscow has very serious questions for the United States about the implementation of the treaty by the Americans.

    In particular, Moscow pointed out that the United States is stationing on land — at a military base in Romania, and also in Poland — installations capable of launching Tomahawk-type cruise missiles, which is prohibited by the agreement. Russia has also drawn attention to the fact that the US is developing attack drone vehicles, funding research on the creation of a ground-based cruise missile.

    The US Influence Campaign in Russia

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov further criticized the United States for trying to influence politics in Russia while blaming it for tampering with the US electoral process.

    He referred to a US law in support of Ukraine that authorized $20 million in annual funding for efforts to allegedly promote democracy in Russia.

    "All organizations funded under this law are being scrutinized. If this money is used for what the law calls ‘promoting democracy’ it is [an attempt to] change the country’s internal policies," Lavrov told Rossiya-1.

    The foreign minister added that US diplomats were more than once spotted at opposition meetings, including gatherings that called for a change in government.

    US Sanctions

    Lavrov went on to say that Russia "in any case" will be able to minimize harm from the sanctions imposed by the United States.

    "We will find ways to minimize the harm from [US sanctions] in any case, and over some time stop being dependent on the attempts to blackmail us," Lavrov said during the program "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on Rossiya-1.

    Issues of Cooperation

    However, the minister underlined that Russia welcomed Trump's willingness to cooperate on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity.

    "Unfortunately, there has been no action on terrorism, cybersecurity… until the very last moment when [US National Security Adviser John] Bolton confirmed that Trump was willing to work on these issues. We welcome this [desire]," Lavrov said during the program "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on the Rossiya-1 TV channel.

    The top diplomat concluded, saying that Russia was open for discussion of urgent international issues and bilateral agenda with the United States, but on an equal basis.

    Tags:
    Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), INF treaty, John Bolton, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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