17 Jan 2019 09:23

Ryabkov: Russia isn't changing its INF Treaty stance, is rejecting U.S. blackmail, ultimatum attempts

MOSCOW. Jan 17 (Interfax) - Russia is not going to change its stance on the situation surrounding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and is rejecting the United States' attempts to blackmail it, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax.

"We are not altering our stance. We are not responding to blackmail attempts or attempts to put forth ultimatums - all of these methods are useless," Ryabkov said when commenting on a statement made by U.S. Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson that Washington would start its INF Treaty withdrawal on February 2 if Russia does not drastically change its stance on this matter.

"Colleagues in Washington ought to proceed from the premise that problems can be solved strictly and exclusively on the basis of equality and mutual respect," he said.

"Any other options, alternatives, and a pursuit to put themselves above us and other members of the international community in this sphere are doomed to failure," Ryabkov said.

"It is inherently a no-go. If the U.S. is ready to look for solutions, it needs to understand that a search for a common denominator is possible and acceptable only on the basis of the balance of interests and reciprocal consideration of the sides' demands towards each other. If they are not ready for that, it means that there will not be any common denominator," Ryabkov said.

"And they will remain responsible for the demolition of this agreement, which is key today from the point of view of maintaining international strategic stability," he said.