MOSCOW: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday called on Russia to destroy a controversial missile system Washington says breaches a key arms control treaty, reports AFP.
“We believe Russia can save this treaty,” Maas said after talks with Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).“It affects our security interests in a fundamental way.”
Tensions have raged between Russia and the United States over the fate of the INF agreement signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
US President Donald Trump has promised to walk away from the agreement and Russian leader Vladimir Putin threatened a new arms race, saying Europe would be its main victim.
Washington says Moscow’s 9M729 missile system violates the treaty and warned it would withdraw from the agreement if Russia does not get rid of it.
Russia denies the claim, accusing the United States of violating the treaty which forbids ground-launched short- and intermediate-range missiles.
“Like other NATO members, we believe that there is a missile violating this treaty and it should be destroyed in a verifiable manner to get back to the implementation of this agreement,” Germany’s Maas told reporters.