US exit from INF treaty puts lives of Europeans at risk: Russian lawmaker

Vienna : United States has put at risk the lives of all Europeans by opting out of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, Russian lawmaker Peter Tolstoy said on Thursday.

“As we talk about security on the continent I want to note that an event that affects the security of every country represented here has taken place in between our meetings. I mean the unilateral exit from the INF by the US. This decision has made the life of every citizen in every single European country more dangerous,” Sputnik quoted Tolstoy as saying.

Tolstoy made these remarks during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s winter session. He led the Russian delegation to the assembly.

The US on February 2 suspended its obligations towards the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – a move which was mirrored by Russia. The Cold War-era treaty was aimed at curbing the arms race between the USSR and the United States and was signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

The latest developments on the INF front have led to renewed fears of an arms race between Russia and the United States. The accord bans ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometres. The Trump administration announced last October that, because of Russian violations dating back several years, it was planning to pull the United States from the pact.