Lavrov: We’re On the Clock; Russia Has Only 6 Months From Termination of INF Treaty to Get Nuke-Read
The outcome of the meeting between Vladimir Putin and National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Washington trying to unleash an arms race by threatening to withdraw from the INF Treaty are the main topics of an exclusive interview that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave to my colleague Vladimir Solovyov. We can now show a short fragment of this conversation.
Sergey Lavrov: «During the meeting with Bolton, when they touched upon the issue of arms control, President Putin reminded him that this quite unfortunate cycle started with the USA's withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which forced us to start manufacturing products that would ensure parity and wouldn't allow the deployment of the US global missile defense system to jeopardize our security and the safety of our strategic nuclear deterrence system. The withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which hasn't been announced officially but they did announce the intention. During the talks in Moscow, including those between President Putin and John Bolton, it became clear the decision had been made and it will be formalized very soon, either in a month or in a month and a half. Then there will be a period of six months stipulated by the treaty. After six months following the official announcement on the withdrawal from the treaty, it is considered to be terminated for the party that initiated the process and the other party as well. It was said candidly, without a trace of emotions, in a very pragmatic way.
The president affirmed several times, even at the press conference with Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, that it would be bad if the American administration follows through on its current attitude towards firstly, the withdrawal from the INF Treaty, and secondly, their doubts on whether they should prolong the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which will expire in 2021. Then there will be no legal framework to deter an arms race. Naturally, every time that the president talks about the arms race, he stresses we'll have to respond to the changes in the strategic situation which are unfavorable to us. But we'll never do it in such a costly way for example, like the USSR did, which was so all out in the race that it undermined its economic and financial capabilities».