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Lavrov Says Moscow Preparing Answers To U.S. Nuclear-Treaty Concerns

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow was drafting responses to a list of questions recently presented by the United States concerning a key nuclear-arms agreement.

In an interview aired on Russian television on October 28, Lavrov said U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton had presented the concerns about the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on October 23.

In the wake of U.S. threats to withdraw from the INF Treaty, Lavrov said the "fate of the New START Treaty is unclear."

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 and eliminated ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

The New START treaty limits strategic nuclear weapons. It was signed in 2010 and is due to expire in 2021, although the two sides could agree to extend it for another five years.

The United States has accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty by developing an intermediate-range cruise missile. Moscow denies breaching the agreement.

"It is better to come to terms with Russia on an equal basis and it is not necessary to be friends," Lavrov said. "We are not forcing a friendship."

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS