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Russia Says It's Ready For Talks With U.S. On Key Arms-Control Treaty

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that "many" NATO members have their own evidence that Russia is not complying with the INF treaty.

Russia says it is prepared to hold talks with the United States to maintain a landmark arms-control treaty signed between U.S. and Soviet leaders in 1987.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement on December 8 coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which eliminated an entire class of cruise and ballistic missiles in Europe and established a verification framework to ensure compliance.

Washington has accused Russia of being in violation of the treaty, which is widely seen as a bedrock agreement for U.S.-Russian arms control.

A senior U.S. State Department official said last month that Russia has developed a nuclear-capable cruise missile "in clear violation" of the INF Treaty.

Also last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that "many" NATO members had their own evidence that Russia is not complying with the deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in October that Moscow, which denies the U.S. accusations, had its own concerns about potential INF violations by Washington.

The ministry said in its December 8 statement that Russia remained in "firm" compliance with the treaty and criticized what it called "the language of ultimatums" by Washington and U.S. efforts to pressure Moscow with sanctions.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP