2 Mar 2018 10:48

Russian ambassador criticizes U.S. remarks on Putin's address to Federal Assembly

WASHINGTON DC. March 2 (Interfax) - The U.S. Department of State has a poor knowledge of U.S.-Russia disarmament and arms control agreements, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said.

"It seems the Department of State has a poor knowledge of the issue. Putin's address was about strategic weapons, which do not fall under the INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty)," the Russian embassy to the United States said commenting on a statement by U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert.

"President Putin confirmed what the U.S. government knew for a long time, but Russia earlier denied that Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for more than 10 years, directly violating its international obligations," Nauert said.

"Let me say again that while developing its nuclear potential Russia has not breached a single disarmament and arms control agreement. Everything the Russian Defense Ministry and the Russian defense sector have been doing strictly complies with other international obligations," Antonov said.

As to the INF Treaty, Russia deems the allegations of its breach to be unfounded, he said.

"At the same time, Russia has serious concerns about the U.S. fulfillment of the treaty's provisions," Antonov said.

He gave the example of target missiles used for testing missile defense network capacities, production and use of unmanned attack drones, and the deployment of universal launchers capable of firing cruise missiles to distances exceeding the range permitted by the INF Treaty at air defense bases in Romania and Poland.

"So, the anti-Russian propaganda conducted in the context of the INF Treaty gives us a reason to say that Washington is trying to withdraw from this agreement, just like it withdrew from the ABM Treaty in the past," Antonov said.

"We have repeatedly urged U.S. colleagues to establish a professional dialogue on this subject. We have been warning them once and again that the destruction of the INF Treaty would deliver a strong blow on the regime of arms control and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," Antonov said.