After hours of closed door talks in Moscow between US National Security Advisor John Bolton and his Russian counterpart Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, Bolton told reporters that the United States has yet to take a decision on whether it plans to deploy missiles in Europe if the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is scrapped.
Bolton further said that he now understands Russia’s position on nuclear arms regulations and treaties much better, and added that more consultations on arms treaties are needed, while further denying prior Russian charges that a US pullout of the INF was an attempt at “blackmail,” according to Russian state media sources. He subsequently had a 90-minute meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and later in the trip is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
This comes following President Trump’s shock weekend announcement concerning the Reagan-era treaty with the Soviet Union, wherein he said after a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada: “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement,” and indicated, “We’re going to terminate the agreement.” The Guardian had the day prior to the Saturday statement revealed that Bolton – in what some described as an overreach of the position’s typical role – had been pushing Trump to abandon the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Moscow’s reaction on Sunday was fierce with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warning that Trump’s pledge to “terminate” the treaty was “very dangerous” and that “[Withdrawal] won’t be understood by the international community, but [instead] arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community, who are committed to security and stability and are ready to work on strengthening the current regimes in arms control.”
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