NATO will not accept moratorium on nukes: Russian FM

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – NATO has made it clear it will reject Moscow’s proposal of announcing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles, the Russian foreign minister said Friday.

President Vladimir Putin had earlier proposed a moratorium on the deployment of nuclear warheads in Europe and other regions.

Speaking at the Moscow Non-proliferation Conference, Sergey Lavrov recalled that Moscow had asked the U.S. to declare a moratorium on the deployment of these missiles, after Washington formally withdrew from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August.

“President Putin in personal messages to the leaders of NATO states and countries of the Asia-Pacific region called to join the moratorium on the deployment of INF ground-based equipment. A clear response from the North Atlantic Alliance did not follow. Moreover, we are given to understand that NATO will not go for it.”

On Aug. 2, the U.S. formally withdrew from the INF Treaty, following a months-long war of words between Moscow and Washington. Later in the same month the U.S. tested a missile, previously banned under the treaty.

The treaty was signed in 1987 by then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, reducing the chances of a nuclear war in Europe.

Under the treaty, both sides destroyed the whole class of intermediate- and short-range missiles in a span of four years.

International observers fear a fresh arms race in the absence of this landmark treaty.
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