Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov played down the possibility of renewed Cold War-era hostilities after the breakdown of an arms control treaty between Washington and Moscow.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the U.S. will formally withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) in six months' time and would suspend adherence to the agreement as of last Friday.
Russia followed suit on Saturday by saying that it too had suspended its involvement in the deal, although President Vladimir Putin said "the doors for talks are open." The U.S. also said that it "stands ready to engage with Russia on arms control" if Russia complies with the treaty.
Lavrov said his country was not to blame for the pact's breakdown. "I don't think that we should talk about a new Cold War. A new era has begun, an era when the United States decides to move towards destroying the entire arms control system, which is regrettable," he said, according to news agency TASS.
The INF Treaty was created in 1987 by then-Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and was designed to end decades of bitter relations and arms insecurity between old foes the U.S. and Russia. The treaty states that neither country can produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched, intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.