The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has rejected Russia’s calls for suspending the deployment of short and medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe, after the US withdrew from a landmark cold war-era treaty that banned the weapons.
Spokesman of President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskovs, said on Thursday that the moratorium proposal was sent to “major countries in Europe and Asia and various international organizations.”
It was reportedly sent in August when Washington officially withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, blaming Russia for the Cold War-era treaty's collapse.
The military alliance, however, dismissed the proposal as “not credible.”
A NATO spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, said that the western allies had “heard this proposal before” and saw it as “not a credible offer.”
“It disregards the reality on the ground. Russia has already deployed the SSC-8, in violation of the INF treaty,” she said.
“Unless and until Russia verifiably destroys the SSC-8 system, this moratorium on deployments is not a real offer. We call once again on Russia to behave like a responsible international actor,” she added.
France’s foreign ministry spokesperson, however, said it is “studying” Putin’s proposal.
The proposal suggested that Moscow was open to discussions and will raise hopes that some form of negotiated settlement could be possible, as both Russia and the EU seek to avoid a costly and potentially dangerous arms race.
The INF treaty, signed by then-US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, banned land-based missiles with a range of between 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
The demise of the landmark treaty raise concerns that the world powers could engage in a new nuclear arms race.
Russia, which denied that its new generation missiles violated the INF treaty, already warned against another global arms race.