US National Security Adviser John Bolton has arrived in Moscow for talks on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
"It's extremely dangerous - European lives are what they are bargaining with here at this point."Executive Director, ICAN
Over the weekend, President Trump said he would withdraw the US from the decades-old pact, saying Russia was not in compliance. Russia denies violating the treaty which was the first ever arms-control agreement to eliminate an entire class of missiles.
The INF was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty banned all ground-launched medium-range missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500km.
Ahead of Bolton's arrival, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia will be forced to respond in kind if the United States begins developing new missiles after quitting the landmark Cold War-era treaty.
"Any action will face a reaction because strategic stability could be ensured only on the parity basis. Such parity will be maintained under any circumstances. We are responsible for global stability and expect that the US won't renounce their share of responsibility as well," Lavrov told reporters on Monday (October 22).
Eugen Slutsky, who heads the Duma's Committee on International Affairs, told Euronews' Moscow correspondent Galina Polonskaya he doesn't believe the US will leave the treaty:
"I am sure that this is just a kind of rhetoric, which is characteristic, however, to Trump in different situations," he said. "We know how often he speaks extremely harshly, and then suddenly changes by 180 degrees, in a diametrically opposite way."
Beatrice Finh is the Executive Director of the Nobel prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. She told Euronews that President's Trump's threat to pull out of the INF treaty could return the world to a very dangerous time.
"This treaty took us back from the brink in the 80s and started a huge disarmament process between the Soviet and the United States and they are trying to unravel that. It's extremely dangerous, it puts Europe at stake - European lives are what they are bargaining with here at this point."
Bolton will meet with President Putin on Tuesday (October 23).