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Leonid Slutsky: Russia has never rejected a constructive dialogue on arms control

Chairman of the Russian State Duma’s (lower house) International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, has blasted the brazen allegations by a US Department of State spokesperson, who said that Russia was not ready to comply with its INF commitments to salvage the treaty.

Commenting on President Vladimir Putin’s decree to suspend Russia’s participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, he maintained that the US was ready for talks with Moscow on arms control but under certain terms. He said that Washington was disappointed over Russia being unready to take the necessary moves to return to compliance with the treaty.

“The willingness by the US for talks on the INF Treaty is of course a positive signal were it not for new terms that look more like an ultimatum,” Slutsky said.

He said “the mantra about commitment to the INF accord is only a cover for US plans to finally ditch the treaty, the responsibility for which Washington is intentionally planning to shift onto Moscow, doing this “cynically and brazenly, within the logic of double standards,” the head of the lower house’s committee said.

He said Russia “has never rejected a constructive dialogue on arms control issues and has always encouraged the American side to do this.”

“Russia has suggested a host of initiatives to save the INF Treaty, going to unprecedentedly open measures to demonstrate its compliance with the accord’s commitments. However, our overseas partners have not only turned a deaf ear, but apparently they are still unwilling to heed what we say,” Slutsky added.

However, in any case Russia hopes that “common sense will prevail” and “an equal dialogue on maintaining and maybe even expanding the legal framework for arms control will be possible.”

“Meanwhile, Russia has to suspend its participation in the INF Treaty,” the legislator concluded.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

“Given the need to take urgent measures following the United States’ violation of its obligations under the treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987… Russia’s compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is hereby suspended until the US addresses the violation of obligations under the treaty or until the treaty is terminated,” the decree reads, as cited in the Kremlin’s statement.

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