Russia seeks talks with US on Cold War-era arms treaty

Moscow announced Friday that it was prepared to begin talks with the United States to save a Cold War-era arms treaty in which both countries agreed to ban the use of certain missiles.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it is prepared to discuss the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty and would comply with its obligations if the U.S. did the same, Reuters reported.

The 1987 treaty, set to expire today, bans the United States and Russia from testing or possessing ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles of intermediate range.

Russia said it was willing to negotiate but considered “the language of ultimatums” and attempt to impose sanctions unacceptable, the statement read.

The U.S. has expressed its concerns about the treaty in the past, alleging that Russia had violated the terms of the agreement.

Vice chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Paul Selva, said in March that the Russians had violated the treaty by deploying a land-based cruise missile, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As a response to this violation, Congress recently passed a $58 million bill that will allow the Pentagon to being research and development on a U.S. ground-based cruise missile system, the Hill reported. 

U.S. officials told the Journal that they informed Russia of the missile development and that it would abandon the effort if Moscow resumed compliance with the terms of the pact.