Bolton faces tense talks with Russian Federation over nuclear treaty
01:28, Oct 22, 2018
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Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russian Federation as President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do is a risky step, Russia's deputy foreign minister warned today.
Ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the original document back in 1987, condemned the move as showing Trump's "lack of wisdom".
Russian Federation appeared to have drawn a similar conclusion: deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov called Trump's announcement a "very unsafe step" and "blackmail to forcefully get certain concessions in a number of areas".
Backing Trump, Williamson told the Financial Times on Sunday that Moscow had made a "mockery" of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Putin said he thought the U.S. president wanted to stabilise the troubled relationship between Moscow and Washington and said it was not true that Trump only listened to himself.
The agreement has constrained the US from developing new weapons, but America will begin developing them unless Russian Federation and China agree not to possess or develop the weapons, Trump said.
Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said "there's no question" Russian Federation is violating the treaty. "Others are planning to start testing them within the next 1½ to 2 years, and we already have them on duty".
"Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements", Mr Gorbachev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a "possible meeting" was being prepared between Putin and Bolton.
The agreement came towards the tail end of the cold war - and eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500-1,000 kilometers (310-620 mi) (short-range) and 1,000-5,500 km (620-3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). Analysts say Russian Federation sees such weapons as a cheaper alternative to conventional forces.
Washington believes Moscow is developing and has deployed a ground-launched system in breach of the INF treaty that could allow Moscow to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice.
Washington "has approached this step over the course of many years by deliberately and step by step destroying the basis for the agreement", the official said, quoted by Russia's three main news agencies.
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The prospect of withdrawing from the INF adds to the substantial tensions between Washington and Moscow, including allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and sanctions imposed over Russia's involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict.
Bolton himself is pressuring Trump to leave the INF and has blocked talks to extend the New Start treaty on strategic missiles set to expire in 2021, according to The Guardian newspaper. "So I hope we're not moving down the path to undo much of the nuclear arms control treaties that we put in place".
Bolton also is expected to emphasize US desire to maintain sanctions against North Korea to pressure Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear weapons program. As a non-signatory, Beijing can develop without constraints intermediate-range nuclear weapons.
But Ryabkov on Sunday denied Trump's accusations, throwing the accusation back at Washington.
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