22:37 GMT21 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Union is still hoping that the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty) can be saved, despite US plan to withdraw, EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini has stated, ahead of talks with EU states' defence ministers.

    "If there are issues or problems in the implementation [of the INF treaty], we believe the right way to go is to insist on the full implementation rather than withdrawal. So we still hope that there is a space for strengthening its implementation rather than dismantling it," Mogherini told reporters, when asked about the treaty.

    The EU diplomacy chief said that she understood the issue with absence of the enforcing mechanism in the treaty. At the same time, Mogherini stressed that the agreement was very important for Europe, and its possible dismantlement could put Europe's security at risk.

    READ MORE: UK Gov't Opens Parliamentary Inquiry Into US Withdrawal From INF Treaty

    Earlier, the EU urged Washington to assess the implications of a possible US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), according to a spokeswoman for the Austrian EU presidency.

    The situation has worsened after Donald Trump announced last month that he withdraws the US from the INF Treaty over the alleged Russian violations of the agreement. Moscow has strongly denied any violations and voiced regret over the US decision. In his turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Moscow would 'certainly respond' to the US decision.

    Then-leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and then US President Ronald Reagan signed the INF Treaty in 1987 and agreed to destroy all cruise or ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (310 and 3,400 miles).


    UK Gov't Opens Parliamentary Inquiry Into US Withdrawal From INF Treaty
    EU Urges US to Assess Impact of Pullout From INF Treaty on European Security
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    Russia Hopes to Restore Full-Fledged Negotiations With US on INF Treaty - Putin
    situation, withdrawal, INF treaty, European Union, Federica Mogherini, United States
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