There are few international agreements Russia has not violated and the situation where one side breaches a treaty and the other side abides by it cannot continue, Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said.
The minister posted his position on Facebook as NATO defense ministers met in Brussels to discuss possible steps in response to Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
“There are probably few international agreements that the country has not violated. Thus, NATO is united in its position that the situation where one (side) keeps violating a treaty and the other complies with it can no longer continue,” he said.
Karoblis added, however, that Russia still has a chance to rectify the situation by returning to “full and verifiable compliance with the terms of the treaty, but the breach of the treaty in itself is already a threat”.
The minister told BNS by phone from Brussels that the Alliance’s ministries unanimously agreed that “the truth needs to be told and the issue needs to be raised again: if Russia fails to comply, the treaty is terminated”.
Karoblis said Russia has six months to remedy violations.
“The situation shows that Russia has been violating (the treaty) for several years, and political will had to be expressed to give Russia a six-month period. During that period, pressure would be put on Russia for full and verifiable compliance, while at the same time preparing for the worst-case scenario of the treaty being ended”.
The United States began the process of exiting the INF Treaty earlier this month, claiming that Russia violated the pact by developing intermediate-range missiles.
Washington says the US withdrawal process will be completed in six months’ time if Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty by destroying its INF-violating missiles.
In response, Moscow announced that it was suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty and would begin developing new types of missiles.
The INF Treaty banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.