Despite high-level talks in Moscow, the U.S. could trigger its official withdrawal from a nuclear weapons agreement by December.
This could pave the way for more Russian nuclear missiles in range of Europe – by the end of 2019.
CGTN’s Julia Chapman reports.
It was a day of delicate diplomacy in Moscow.
Donald Trump’s national security adviser held meeting-after-meeting with Russia’s most powerful. John Bolton arrived in Moscow as the U.S. announced plans to withdraw from a historic nuclear treaty.
President Vladimir Putin was left wondering where the olive branch was.
“As far as I remember, the coat of arms of the United States depicts a bald eagle. In one talon it holds 13 arrows and in the other – an olive branch as a sign of a peaceful policy with 13 olives on it. The question is has your eagle already picked all the olives, so only arrows are left,” Putin said.
Joking aside, Putin called the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty “unfriendly” and said accusations of Russian violations “unsubstantiated.”
Bolton himself is said to be the driving force behind the move:
“INF outmoded, being violated, being ignored, not applicable to all relevant countries. U.S. was the only country being bound by the agreement.”
Bolton bringing to a close his two-day visit to Moscow, pouring cold water on suggestions that the INF treaty could be renegotiated. But he also firmly rejected the idea that the U.S. withdrawal makes the world a more dangerous place.
Bolton called the INF landmark agreement “a Cold War bilateral ballistic-missile-related treaty in a multipolar ballistic-missile world.”
Russian officials and experts have been expressing nearly unanimous support for it.
Military Expert Evgeny Buzhinsky described it this way, “The INF treaty is one of the fundamental elements of strategic stability in the world The concept of strategic stability will now be significantly devalued and the system of arms control is simply crumbling.”
The visit did produce confirmation that Presidents Putin and Trump will meet again in November. Although the INF treaty seems to be irredeemable, the conversation between the U.S. and Russia continues.
Richard Weitz on the biggest takeaway from Bolton’s trip to Moscow
CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Richard Weitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of its Center for Political-Military Analysis, about Bolton’s trip to Moscow and the planned US withdrawal from a decades-old arms control agreement with Russia.