Russia is ready for any development of the situation around the Treaty on Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), but there can be no winners in a nuclear war, officials with the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation said.
Russia is ready to conduct full-fledged negotiations on the issue of arms control and the future of the INF Treaty. Russia also hopes that the USA will not take thoughtless steps at this point. Nevertheless, Moscow has options for action no matter how the situation may develop, Vladimir Yermakov, director of the non-proliferation and arms control department at Russia's Foreign Ministry said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
According to him, Moscow hopes that Washington is well aware of the fact that there are no winners in a nuclear war.
"We proceed from the assumption that the United States will not take thoughtless steps. We hope that the Americans will have a sober approach in their assessment of the real situation in the world. Of course, we are ready to make certain decisions no matter how the situation may develop. Yet, those who do not want to listen to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explaining all this to them now will have to listen to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu later," the official said.
The INF Treaty prohibits the parties from owning ground-based ballistic missiles and cruise missiles with a range from 500 to 5,500 kilometres. Russia and the United States have repeatedly accused each other of violating the terms of the treaty, which was signed in 1987. In late October, US President Donald Trump announced that the USA intend to pull out from the agreement.
Soon after Trump's announcement, his National security Adviser, John Bolton, arrived in Moscow to discuss the issue with President Putin. Commenting on Bolton's visit to Moscow, Mr. Yermakov noted that John Bolton came to Moscow "empty-handed."
"He was welcomed in Moscow at the highest level. He was given the honour that we give to national leaders. Yet, he came empty-handed. We see no positive development as a result of his visit to Moscow either. Why did he come? This is quite a question," said Yermakov.
Commenting on this topic in mid-November, President Putin said that USA's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2001 led to the creation of hypersonic weapons in Russia. Therefore, Washington's possible withdrawal from the INF Treaty will not remain without an answer either, Putin said.