Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has accused the United States of violating a key arms treaty by selling a missile defence system to Japan. “The US is deploying them (missile defence systems) at their military bases in Romania and Poland, that is near our western borders, which goes against the 1987 INF Treaty banning the deployment of such systems on the ground,” Ryabkov said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We consider the step made by the Japanese side as going against efforts of ensuring peace and stability in the region.” Moscow has “deep regret and serious concern” over the move.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) is the abbreviated name of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor states, in particular the Russian Federation).
Signed in Washington, DC by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987, the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on May 27, 1988 and came into force on 1 June 1988.
The INF Treaty eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometres (310–620 mi) (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The treaty did not cover sea-launched missiles.
By May 1991, 2,692 missiles were eliminated, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections. By the treaty's deadline of June 1, 1991, a total of 2,692 of such weapons had been destroyed, 846 by the US and 1,846 by the Soviet Union.