Interfax: Russia’s NATO envoy says nuclear treaty debate is aimed at setting summit tone

File Photo of Nuclear Weapon, B61 Gravity Bomb

Brussels, 28 August: Attempts to draw NATO into a public discussion of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (IRNFT) issues look artificial, Russia’s NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko has said.

“We noted that the stove piping on IRNFT came in the lead-up to the summit. This clearly benefits those who would like to present Russia as the enemy. Recall that the Treaty has a bilateral nature and its parties have all necessary mechanisms for dialogue and settlement of issues that could arise,” Grushko told Interfax in an interview in Brussels, on the eve of the NATO summit in Wales on 4-5 September.

According to Grushko, Russia is always ready for dialogue with USA “on the full spectrum of issues of non-proliferation and arms control, including the IRNFT, of course”.

“Moreover, as is known, we have serious issues about [US] compliance with the Treaty. It is worth mentioning target missiles for testing anti-missile defence, which have similar characteristics to intermediate-range missiles, the manufacture of strike drones that fall under the Treaty definition of land-based cruise missiles, as well as plans for the deployment of MK-41 vertical launching systems, capable of launching mid-range missiles, in Poland and Romania,” he said.

The full text of Grushko’s interview will be published on the Interfax website http://www.interfax.ru