Countries react to US withdrawal from INF

European countries are calling on the US and Russia to try to narrow their differences over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to avoid a new arms race.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Saturday expressed regret over the decision of the US to withdraw its obligations under the INF in response to allegations of Russia's material breach and Moscow's reciprocal move.

On the same day, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said that the treaty was a successful arms control agreement and called on Russia and the US to continue dialogue on strategic stability. Latvia, a member of NATO also called on Moscow to take constructive measures to save the treaty.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will do everything possible to use the six-month window to hold further talks with Russia over the INF. A spokesperson for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the UK is not surprised by Russia's decision to suspend its participation in the INF Treaty and calls on Moscow to return to the full compliance with the accord.

The INF was signed by the US and the Soviet Union in 1987 and officially took effect in 1988. Under the treaty, both sides were committed not to produce, test, and deploy intermediate and short-range ballistic and cruise missiles (from 500 to 5,500 km).

Source: VOV5