White House National Security Advisor, John Bolton, who was adamant on pulling out of the INF Treaty, met with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, finishing a two-day visit.
He has confirmed that US will pull out of a landmark arms-control agreement with Russia, rejecting appeals from Russia and other European nations not to do so.
In the meeting, Putin proposed that he and Donald trump would meet on the sidelines of the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice, in Paris. Bolton accepted the proposal and later confirmed that the White House would arrange the meeting.
The INF Treaty was signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Regan, according to which, all US and Soviet-Union land-based ballistic and cruise missiles, ranging between 500 and 5,500 kilometers must be banned. However, US and Donald Trump, have stated that Russia have violated the terms of agreement by deploying the 9M729 missile.
Trump also stated that exiting the terms of agreement implies that US is free to counter a nuclear buildup from China.
“How do you ask the Russians to come back into compliance with something they don’t think they’re violating?” said Bolton, noting the U.S. has been fruitlessly demanding the Russians comply since the Obama administration. He added that the U.S. would trigger the six-month withdrawal mechanism from the INF treaty “in due course.”
Russia has opposed the US’s exit, calling it dangerous. At their meeting , Putin chided Bolton.
“On the U.S. seal there is an eagle holding arrows in one hand and an olive branch in another,” Putin said. “So, a question: has the eagle eaten all the olives and left only arrows?”
“Hopefully I’ll have some answers for you,” Bolton replied, laughing. “But I didn’t bring any more olives.”
As expected USA’s European counterparts have asked them to reconsider this ‘loss-loss’ situation, before completely pulling out of the pact.
Apart from the INF treaty controversy, Bolton said that US and Russia would resume dialogue on counter-narcotics and human trafficking, as well as on counter-terrorism.
The situation, however, is utterly critical for US, who have now set Russia free to test all missiles they want to.