12 August 2020
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892 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     884 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities




The Treaty

- Full name: Treaty Between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles.

- Signed in Washington on 8 December 1987 by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan. Entered into force on 1 June 1988.

- Required destruction of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment, thus promoting stability and predictability, as well as playing a major role in reformatting the geopolitical landscape in Europe and interstate relations between the key players in this region.

- Contained detailed rules on the procedure of missiles elimination and inspections.

- Established a Special Verification Commission, holding 29 sessions until 2003 and 2 more since 2016.

- Resulted in elimination of 2692 missiles by June 1991 (USSR – 1846, USA – 846), becoming a major milestone in building a Euro-Atlantic security architecture in the new historical period and the first genuine step towards nuclear disarmament.

- Multilateralised following the break-up of the Soviet Union, to include Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine as independent parties.

- Inspections completed in 2001.

- According to Article VI of the Treaty, besides eliminating the existing missiles, launchers and infrastructure, “Upon entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter, neither Party shall produce or flight-test any intermediate-range missiles [or] any shorter-range missiles or produce any stages of such missiles or any launchers of such missiles”.

- Russian proposal to make the INF obligations universal put forward in 2007. The initiative did not gain enough support with other states possessing significant missile capabilities.


United States’ violations of the Treaty

- Production, testing and illegitimate use of intermediate- and shorter-range “target missiles” beyond what is authorized by the Treaty. So called “target missiles” have characteristics identical to ground-launched intermediate- and shorter-range ballistic missiles and are used by the US in tests declared to be anti-missile defence testing, but in multiple cases without physical intercept. Covering instead the whole missile flight cycle, i.e. from the launch to the impact of the re-entering payload, thus representing tests of weapon-delivery vehicles, allowing for maintaining and developing technological, industrial and combat capabilities of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles that are banned by the INF Treaty. Violation taking place since 1999, immediately raised by Russia at the Special Verification Commission (SVC).

- Production, testing and use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that completely match the Treaty definition of ground-launched cruise missiles (“an unmanned, self-propelled vehicle that sustains flight through the use of aerodynamic lift over most of its flight path […] that is a weapon-delivery vehicle”). Armed UAVs have nearly the same combat potential as GLCMs and can accomplish tasks similar to those accomplished by ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range cruise missiles. Violation taking place since 2001, immediately raised by Russia at the SVC.

In 2003 US refused to further discuss “target missiles” and armed UAVs at SVC, thus suspending its activities which resumed only in 2016, but still without any US steps to assuage Russian concerns.

- Production, testing and deployment in Romania (2015) and Poland (underway) of a ground-based version of Mk-41 universal launchers (as part of the Aegis Ashore sites), capable of launching Tomahawk intermediate-range cruise missiles. This runs contrary to the provisions of the Treaty and notably to the compromise understanding reached while negotiating the Treaty that the complete destruction of the land-based infrastructure for the cross-platform Tomahawk missiles would reliably prevent their deployment on land while preserving the sea-based variant. Violation taking place since 2014, immediately raised by Russia through diplomatic channels. Still no US’ steps to assuage Russian concern.


United States’ allegations of a Russian violation

- First voiced in 2013. 2014 annual Adherence to and Compliance With Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments Report published by the US State Department: “The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles”. Russia immediately refuted the allegations, stressing it had no missiles in violation of the Treaty and standing ready to clarify the issue.

- In expert dialogue, Russia requested the US to provide specific information on (a) the missile in question, (b) launches that gave ground to suspicions as to the missile’s range, and (c) data that may substantiate the suspicions. US gave vague and fragmentary response, then adding small pieces of picture once a year and hinting at “reliable information”. For some years the only elements that US agreed to provide were to give a missile testing time-frame consisting of several years, as well as to name the test range – Kapustin Yar (where several dozen launches take place yearly) and the missile’s producer – Novator (designer of numerous missiles of various designations already in service or being developed). Later the type of chassis of the launcher was added (appeared to be a universal chassis used for an entire family of launchers for missiles of various types and classes).

- No further information provided by the US until the New York Times first leaked in February 2017 the SSC-8 designation that the US and NATO had assigned to the missile in question as part of their own classification. This designator was further officially used by the US although Russia received no meaningful clarification regarding this index which had nothing to do with internal Russian designators.

- The missile in question identified by the US as 9M729 in December 2017 – just several days before planned SVC session (first leaked through experts, then confirmed officially).

- Existence of the 9M729 missile immediately confirmed by Russia at SVC. The missile was tested at maximum range, 476 km, on 18 September 2017 at Kapustin Yar. The missile was neither developed nor tested to cover distance over 500 km. Still no information from the US on specific dates of missile flight-testing that it considered to be illegitimate. No data that explains what exactly had driven the US to the conclusion that the missile had been tested for ranges in excess of 500 km.

- To ensure transparency, Russia clarified the erroneous US’ allegations regarding the time-frame of 9M729 testing, as well as types of launchers used for tests. Russia also refuted US’ assumptions in relation to the missile’s fuel system explaining that its design allowed to launch the missile only with fuel fully loaded at plant.

- US finally informs Russia of the exact dates of “suspicious” launches on 15 October 2018, which is just 5 days prior to President Trump’s announcement of the intent to withdraw from the Treaty and 5 years since the beginning of the discussion. US still refusing to provide data supporting the suspicions, which is the case to date.

Suspension of the Treaty by the US

- 20 October 2018: President Trump announces intention to withdraw from the Treaty.

- In subsequent contacts, US says that the announcement is not “an invitation to dialogue”.

- 4 December 2018: US officially informs Russia of its intention to suspend the Treaty after 60 days due to “material breach” of the Treaty unless Russia agrees to eliminate the 9M729 systems. Russia says that there is no “material breach” on its part, which makes US’ suspension null and void in legal sense of the matter. Russia confirms readiness to continue dialogue.

- 21 December 2018: Russia introduces a draft UN General Assembly resolution “Preservation of and compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty”. The draft voted down, with 43 votes in favour and 46 against. Almost all EU member states, including the United Kingdom, voted against the resolution, saying: “The EU stands firmly for the preservation of and compliance with the INF Treaty. For this, constructive dialogue between the United States and the Russian Federation is necessary in order to address compliance concerns in a substantial and transparent way”. All NATO countries also voted against, reproducing US’ rhetoric.

- 15 January 2019: On the Russian initiative bilateral consultations take place in Geneva with delegations led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson. For the sake of preserving the Treaty Russia offered a set of realistic mutual transparency measures, showing readiness to go far beyond its obligations under the Treaty and proposing to arrange for US experts an exhibition of and detailed briefing on the 9M729 missile. In return Russia requested the US to exercise transparency in the context of Russian concerns. All this was rejected out of hand, including the mere idea of mutual transparency. Instead the US insisted that Russia destroys all 9M729 missiles, launchers and related equipment and agrees to regular inspections.

- 23 January 2019: Russia demonstrates the 9M729 missile publicly to foreign defence attachés, explaining its design and actual range capability. Representatives of NATO countries mostly ignore the event. Russia announces that the US is expanding the Raytheon plant facilities at Tucson, Arizona, to launch production of prohibited missiles.

- 25 January 2019: Sergey Ryabkov takes part at a meeting of NATO-Russia Council to discuss prospects of INF, witnessing that there is no room left for dialogue by NATO countries beyond the unacceptable US ultimatum with regard to unilateral elimination of Russian military assets in question.

- 1 February 2019: President Trump announces suspension of Treaty obligations, starting also the countdown for official US’ withdrawal from the Treaty after 6 months.


Russian response to US announcement

On 2 February 2019, President Putin announced the following decisions:

- Due to provocative and destabilizing US steps on suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty with a view to accelerate R&D of hitherto prohibited missile systems, Russia in a mirror-like manner also suspends its obligations under the Treaty and initiates its own R&D providing for a military-technical response to US actions.

- The R&D to be carried out within existing budgetary allocations. No intention to be dragged into a costly arms race.

- Russia will not deploy ground-launched intermediate- and shorter-range missiles either in Europe or in other regions until US missiles are deployed in the respective region.

- All Russian proposals related to arms control and strengthening international security remain on the table, but Russia will not advance those or put forward any new initiatives until US is ready for a constructive dialogue on equal footing.


US track record in dismantling the arms control regimes

- Refused to ratify the 1999 Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty).

- 2002: withdrew from the 1972 USSR-US Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty).

- 2018: reached reduction limits under New START Treaty by declaring
56 Trident-II launchers and 41 B-52H bombers to be converted without a possibility for Russia to confirm such a conversion as required by the Treaty.

- 2018: attempted to turn OPCW, a highly successful technical organization, into a political pressure tool. Remains the only state in the world still holding an arsenal of chemical weapon and officially allowing for the possibility to use “riot control agents” as a method of warfare (Executive Order of the US President No.11850 dated 8 April, 1975) in violation of Article I of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

- 2018: withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran (JCPoA), failing to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and threatening to impose unilateral sanctions on other states and international organizations for implementing JCPoA, associated projects and activities.

- 2019: suspended obligations under INF Treaty and initiated the procedure to withdraw from it.

- Blocks collective efforts to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, while continuing to create a network of military biological laboratories across the world.

- Refuses to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), remaining on standby so as to be able to resume full-scale nuclear tests.

- Exercises “nuclear sharing” with non-nuclear NATO members, in violation of the fundamentals of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

- Openly declares plans to deploy weapons in outer space, ignoring initiatives to keep outer space free of arms.


25.07.2020 - "Concerning the sensational report on Russia". Article from News Agency "RIA Novosti", 23 July 2020

The report was prepared before last year’s general election, but its publication was long delayed by the ruling Conservatives, and opponents of Boris Johnson accused him of doing it specifically to downplay the Russian threat and prevent his party from losing credibility. Now, however, the report, written in part by well-known retired MI-5 employee Christopher Style (creator of the file on Trump’s “Russian contacts”), has been published. The British press has been disappointed: there is no proof of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum (although they cannot understand how the British voted to leave the EU when most of the political elite, almost all of the press and the City were against it), although there are rumours of attempts to influence the Scottish independence referendum. This, however, is London’s point of view; from Moscow’s perspective, the report is sensational, because its authors’ conclusions are the best evidence that the British powers-that-be are prepared to work in the Kremlin’s interests. Style and Browder (another co-author of the report) do not in fact understand this, but this is the skill of the so-called KGB heirs’ game. But let’s start at the beginning.

16.07.2020 - The Human Rights Situation in Ukraine - Report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

The human rights situation in Ukraine continues to degrade. The Kyiv authorities adopt legislative acts contrary to the rules of national law and international obligations. Human rights activists document systemic violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Referring to the need to combat the so-called Russian aggression and separatism, political opponents, independent journalists, media outlets, and undesirable members of public organizations are being prosecuted. The rights of internally displaced persons, the Russian-speaking population, and representatives of national minorities are limited. The clergy and parishioners of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being prosecuted. The right to liberty and security of person is not respected. In Ukraine, there are numerous facts of illegal detention, torture, intimidation, ill-treatment, sexual violence, including to obtain confessions or compel cooperation.

16.07.2020 - Embassy comment concerning today’s unfriendly statements by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

The Embassy has noted the statements by the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab concerning unspecified “Russian actors” who have “almost certainly” sought to interfere in 2019 UK General Election through “online amplification” of sensitive documents relating to the UK-US Free Trade Agreement, as well as the alleged responsibility of “Russian Intelligence Services” for cyber attacks aimed at stealing research information on coronavirus vaccine development.

06.07.2020 - Embassy comment on the UK announcement of sanctions over the Magnitsky case

The decision by the British Government to impose sanctions against a number of Russian officials invoking the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 reflects the self-declared status of the UK as the global leader in sanctions policy. All questions regarding the circumstances of Mr Magnitsky’s death have been answered long ago. Today’s decision was quite obviously conceived merely as a public move.

29.06.2020 - Embassy press officer’s reply to a media question on British media reports on Russian “collusion” with the Taliban in Afghanistan

Question: How would you comment on the recent reports in British media that Russia supposedly offered “bounty” to the Taliban to kill UK as well as US soldiers in Afghanistan?

16.05.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to Financial Times

Dear Editor, I feel compelled to express disagreement with the Financial Times coverage of Russia’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Judging by your reports, Russia’s response has been to manipulate with figures at home and to spread disinformation abroad, with the government acting inefficiently and doctors having inadequate protection. This distorted picture requires a refutation. Even by most pessimistic accounts, Russia’s performance in terms of healthcare system capacity and death rate is among the best of all major countries.

15.05.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to The Times

Sir, Roger Boyes is wondering why Russian industrialists (he calls them ‘oligarchs’) are helping to fight Covid-19. Are they suddenly ‘embracing philanthropy’, or ‘cleaning up their nasty image’, or else seeking to impose a ‘new compact’ on the ‘floundering’ government?

11.05.2020 - Statement by the Foreign Ministry concerning US attempts to rewrite the history of the Victory over Nazism

Attempts to distort the results of the defeat of Nazism and the decisive contribution our country made, which are continuing in Washington even during these days of universal celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory, cause utter indignation.

08.05.2020 - Telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson. The President of Russia and the Prime Minister of Great Britain exchanged greetings on the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism, which became one of the greatest events of the 20th century and an example of unprecedented cooperation between the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition. Vladimir Putin noted in part that Russia remembers the exploits of the British sailors, participants in the Arctic convoys, owing to which the Soviet army and industry received arms and equipment needed during the war.

07.05.2020 - Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab

On May 6, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab at the latter's initiative. The two officials exchanged greetings in connection with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the victory in WWII. They noted the contribution of the members of the anti-Hitler coalition in the fight against Nazism, and emphasised the importance of using the alliance's experience in mobilising the international community's efforts to counteract today's global challenges. Particular attention was paid to discussing the efforts being taken to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus infection and to overcome its effects.

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