Russian official: Trump withdrawal from arms control treaty form of ‘blackmail’
Top Russian officials have pushed back against President Trump’s plan to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), with the country’s deputy foreign minister calling it a form of “blackmail.”
“We condemn the continuing attempts to achieve Russia’s concessions through blackmail, moreover in such an issue which has importance for international security and security in the nuclear weapons sphere, for maintaining strategic stability,” Sergei Ryabkov told the state news agency Tass on Sunday.
“This would be a very dangerous step, which, I’m sure, won’t be just understood by the international community, but arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community,” he added.
A high ranking Russian diplomat said Sunday that it was perilous for the U.S. exit the agreement, the Associated Press reports.
AP also reports that the head of foreign affairs in Russia’s upper house of parliament, Konstatin Kosachev, said on Facebook that the U.S.’s exit would mean “mankind is facing full chaos in the nuclear weapons sphere.”
Trump confirmed Saturday that the U.S. will exit the treaty, which the U.S. and Russia signed during the Cold War.
“We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump told reporters before a campaign rally in Nevada Saturday. “We’ll have to develop those weapons.”
Critics of the deal complain the treaty did not stop Chinese missile developments and stopped Washington from deploying new weapons to counteract certain types of missiles.
China did not sign the deal.
“[Russia’s] decision to violate the INF Treaty and other commitments all clearly indicate that Russia has rebuffed repeated U.S. efforts to reduce the salience, role, and number of nuclear weapons,” the administration wrote in a nuclear strategy document earlier this year.
Updated: 2:55 p.m.