NYT announces ‘open door’ for INF Treaty in US and NATO responses

NYT: US and NATO security responses 'open door' for resumption of INF Treaty The possibility of a return to the missile treaty was previously stated by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The United States proposes other security measures, but is not ready to discuss Russia's veto on the deployment of weapons in NATO countries

Transport and launch container with a 9M729 cruise missile

US and NATO responses to Russian proposals on security assurances suggest the possibility of mutual restrictions on short-range and medium-range nuclear weapons, writes The New York Times, citing officials familiar with the documents.

In particular, the position of Washington and the alliance “opens the door” to renew the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty).

The treaty was in force since the summer of 1988 and banned the production and testing of ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5500 km. In August 2019, when Donald Trump was President of the United States, Washington withdrew from the agreement. The US and NATO considered that Russia's deployment of the 9M729 missile violated the terms of the treaty. Moscow has voiced similar claims against Washington. In the same month, the United States tested a cruise missile that hit a target at a distance of more than 500 km. Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed to prepare a symmetrical response.

In early January, on the eve of negotiations with Russia on security guarantees, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke about the possibility of restoring the INF Treaty. According to him, the country can take this step to address “any legitimate concerns that Russia may have.”

As noted by The New York Times, the United States and its allies are also ready to discuss mutual restrictions on the scale and location of military exercises. In this case, the states will carry out maneuvers far from each other's borders, so there will be no assumptions about the preparation of military invasions, the publication explained.

At the same time, the US and NATO responses emphasize that Russia will not have a veto on deployment of nuclear and conventional weapons and troops in the countries of the alliance.

On January 26, US Ambassador John Sullivan handed over the documents to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Blinken said that the US does not plan to publish the text of its response and expects the same from Russia.

According to the Secretary of State, the document emphasizes that cooperation between the US and Russia is possible in the areas indicated in the response. At the same time, the “basic principles” are clearly indicated, from which the party will not refuse— including an “open door” policy; NATO.

Moscow made public its proposals on guarantees on 17 December. The main demands include the refusal of NATO to expand to the east, the concentration of offensive strike weapons systems near the borders, the admission of the countries of the former USSR, and the conduct of military activities on the territory of Ukraine and other states of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia.

On January 10, 12 and 13, the Russian side discussed its proposals with the US, NATO and the OSCE. Concrete results were not achieved: NATO insists that Russia cannot veto Ukraine's entry into the alliance, and this proposal was one of the key ones for Russia. At the same time, the United States and the alliance pointed to the possibility of a compromise on other issues.

The discussion did not end there. Blinken held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week in Geneva. The parties agreed on further contacts after Washington provides a written response to Russia's proposals.

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