Q: On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was prepared not to deploy 9M729 ground-launched missiles in European Russia provided that NATO take reciprocal steps. He also reaffirmed Russia’s respect for its moratorium on the deployment of ground-based INF prior to the emergence of similar categories of missiles manufactured in the United States. How is France responding to the Russian President’s remarks?
A: Our position on the violation and collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is well known. We regret that no solution has been found to keep this treaty in force. The INF treaty was fundamental to European security.
We continue to encourage joint discussions on the conditions required to restore strategic stability in Europe via a dialogue on multilateral instruments and forums. That includes the question of the future of arms control with the end of the INF and discussions on extending the New START Treaty. On this latter point, we reiterate our call to the United States and Russia to reach an agreement to extend it beyond February 2021.
In that regard, we take note of the proposal reiterated by Russia on this extremely important issue, which must continue to be the subject of an in-depth dialogue. We are still waiting for the Russians to provide the detailed information on this proposal that we need to assess the credible security benefits it would provide to France and its allies.