Collapsed international accords only lead to poor relations between countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated, while still admitting that a major conflict is unlikely to happen.
“Unprecedented tensions are being escalated. We see international treaties collapse,” Lavrov told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview released on Monday.
The minister recalled that back in 2002, under the George W. Bush administration, Washington “unilaterally” withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). That agreement was in force for 30 years and was enacted before the end of the Soviet Union.
Next in line, Lavrov said, will be the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which the US views as “obsolete.” He said that while Washington accuses Moscow of treaty violations, it is also “transparently hinting” that it would like to impose similar restrictions on China, Iran, and North Korea.
Still, the foreign minister brushed away speculation about a large-scale confrontation.
“I strongly believe that politicians in key countries cant allow a big war [to break out],” he said, adding that neither public opinion nor individual nations would tolerate such a course of events. “I hope that parliaments in every Western country will show maximum responsibility,” he added.
In October, the US abruptly threatened to quit the landmark INF accord, with Trump saying that “Russia has violated the agreement; they have been violating it for many years.” Moscow denies the claim.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later said that Washington will suspend its obligations under the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.” Signed in late 1980s, the agreement was considered a milestone in ending the arms race between the US and the USSR.
The US decision raised eyebrows in Moscow, with Vladimir Putin later saying that Russia will respond but wont be dragged into a new arms race. Earlier in December, in an attempt to salvage the historic accord, Russia introduced a draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly. The document urges the international community to safeguard the treaty.
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