US National Security Adviser John Bolton faces two days of tense talks with Russia over Moscow's criticism of the threat by US President Donald Trump to withdraw unilaterally from a nuclear weapons control agreement for decades between the two countries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin will seek clarification on Trump's plans at their respective meetings with Bolton on Monday and Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.
Peskov's comments came as those of Russia. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that Trump's promise to "end" the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty would be a "very dangerous" measure.
"[Withdrawal] It will not be understood by the international community, but [instead] "All members of the global community, who are committed to security and stability and are ready to work on strengthening current weapons control regimes," Ryabkov said on Sunday, according to The Russian state news agency Tass.
The INF, which banned everything nuclear and conventional missiles ranging from 500 to 5,500 km, it was signed in 1987 at a summit of the Cold War era in Washington between the then president of the United States. UU Ronald Reagan and Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev.
Since then, Washington and Moscow have exchanged beards for the agreement, accusing each other on several occasions of violating the terms of the historic treaty.
US officials believe that Moscow is developing and has implemented a ground-based system that violates the INF treaty that could allow it to launch a nuclear attack against Europe at short notice.
Meanwhile, Russia has claimed that parts of the US anti-missile defense shield. UU., Specifically the team hosted by its NATO allies in Europe, violate the agreement.
On Saturday, Trump said Russia had violated the INF for "many years" and promised to get the United States out of the pact. Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of having contravened the treaty.
"We are not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and make weapons." [while] We are not allowed, "he said.
Gorbachev, who, as the last president of the Soviet Union before its dissolution in 1991, introduced a series of reforms that contributed to the end of the Cold War, said that the Trump movement "was not the work of a great mind", without however.
"Under no circumstances should we break old disarmament agreements," Gorbachev said, according to Russia-based Interfax news agency.
Gorbachev's comments were repeated by several Russian legislators, with the head of the foreign affairs commission in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament Konstantin Kosachev warned that the withdrawal of Washington would mean "Humanity faces complete chaos in the sphere of nuclear weapons."
Several international powers also expressed concern over Trump's comments.
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said Beijing was opposed to a US withdrawal from the pact.
"The unilateral withdrawal will have a multitude of negative effects" Chunying told reporters at a press conference.
The main diplomat of GermanyMeanwhile, he said that Washington's measure was "regrettable",
"The treaty (…) has been an important pillar of our European security architecture for 30 years" Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas He said in a statement on Sunday.
"We have often urged Russia to address serious accusations that it is violating the agreement. Now we urge the United States to consider the possible consequences, "added Maas.
The ally of the United States, Great Britain, however, said that it would remain "absolutely resolved" together with Washington on the subject.
The Secretary of Defense of the United Kingdom, Gavin Williamson, told the British newspaper Financial Times that it was due to Russia for endangering the INF treaty and asked the Kremlin to "put its house in order".
"We, of course, want this treaty to remain in effect but it requires two parties to commit to it and at this moment, there is a party that is ignoring it, it is Russia that is not complying," Williamson said. .
Trump's announcement attracted a mixed opinion among Republican Party lawmakers in Washington.
Senator Rand Paul said that withdrawing from the pact would be a "big, big mistake", while SEnate's colleague, Lindsey Graham, praised the president of the United States for taking "absolutely the right decision," adding that "the Russians have been cheating."
The last time the United States withdrew from a major arms deal with Russia was in 2002, when then-President George W. Bush abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).
The ABM pact prohibited Washington and Moscow from deploying national defense systems against anti-ballistic missiles.