INF treaty: Didn’t get a chance to ‘disprove erroneous allegations’, claims Russia

Moscow: Russia slammed the United States for not giving a chance to Moscow to “disprove” Washington’s “erroneous” and “fabricated” allegations before suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Briefing the foreign military delegates on the 9M729 cruise missile, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “Recent events clearly indicate that certain forces in the United States were not interested in giving us the opportunity to disprove their erroneous or fabricated information, because it would allow closing this question once and for all.”

In October last year, US had accused Moscow of not complying with the treaty on at least 30 instances in the last five years despite constant reminders.

Signed by then Soviet Union Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan in 1987, the agreement was largely designed to prevent prospects of a full-scale nuclear war in Europe.

Ryabkov’s comment comes days after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted that Moscow is ready to work with Washington to save the INF treaty.

Russian artillery chief Lieutenant General Mikhail Matveyevsky also clarified that range of a missile system that has prompted Washington to withdraw from the treaty is allowed under the agreement.

“The 9M729 missile’s maximum range is 480 km. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty bans missiles with a range above 500 km.”

Explaining the missile, Matveyevsky further said, “I would like to emphasize that the 9M728 and 9M729 missiles are equipped with a warhead and are fueled only at the factory. The mass of fuel at the same time provides the maximum constructive range, limited by the requirements of the INF Treaty. They are delivered to the troops in special containers. Changing the mass of fuel and refuelling missiles in military conditions is impossible.”

He also added that for the period from 2008 to 2014, more than 100 rocket launches for various purposes were conducted at the test site. At the same time, all launches of surface-to-surface missiles were conducted at a range not exceeding the limitations provided for by the INF Treaty. The only exceptions are the launches of missile systems of strategic purpose, about which the USA was notified under the Agreement of 1982.

For the first time, Russia under as part of voluntary transparency held a special briefing for foreign military attaches on the 9M729 missile. The participants of the event were shown the missile and were also informed on the design of the sample and its performance characteristics.