Russia honoring INF treaty, but this can’t last endlessly – Kremlin chief of staff

File Photo of Nuclear Weapon, B61 Gravity Bomb

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, June 21, 2013) The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987 cannot exist endlessly, says Russian presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov.

“A legitimate question arises: on the one hand, we have signed the Soviet-U.S. treaty, and we are honoring it, but this can’t last endlessly,” Ivanov said in an interview with the Vesti-24 television channel.

A number of countries neighboring Russia have lately been using this type of weapons, he said.

The Soviet Union and the U.S. concluded a treaty on the elimination of an entire class of weapons, i.e. nuclear and conventional ground-based ballistic and cruise intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, in 1987.

“The president called this decision arguable, and I would add – to put it mildly. Because, frankly speaking, I didn’t understand why this was done earlier, and I understand this even less now,” he said.

The U.S. never needed this class of weapons, because, even in theory, it could use it only in a war with Mexico or Canada, Ivanov said.

“The Cold War is over. Naturally, the U.S. removed intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles from Europe, and the Soviet Union scrapped and abandoned all this as well. What has happened in these 25 years? Dozens of countries, an overwhelming majority of which are located near our borders, such as North Korea, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, or Israel, have acquired this type of weapons,” Ivanov said.

As only two countries had this type of weapons during the Cold War era, they were part of their nuclear arsenals, but now the countries possessing these weapons also have non-nuclear missiles of this type, Ivanov said.

He shared the Russian General Staff’s perplexity as to “why can anyone have weapons of this class but the U.S. and we legally cannot?”