Russia's top general says Moscow committed to nuclear missile treaty

MOSCOW Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:48pm EDT

Russian armed forces Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov delivers a speech during a conference titled Military and Political Aspects of European Security in Moscow May 23, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian armed forces Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov delivers a speech during a conference titled Military and Political Aspects of European Security in Moscow May 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's top general, Valery Gerasimov, told the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday that Moscow was committed to adhering to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Treaty after Washington accused Russia of violating the agreement.

The accusations from Washington have heightened tension between Russia and the United States at a time when ties between the two former Cold War foes have plunged relations to their lowest level since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

"Gerasimov reaffirmed Russia's commitment to fulfilling the provisions of the treaty on intermediate-range rockets," Russian state news agency RIA reported the general as telling General Martin Dempsey in a telephone call.

Washington says Russia has violated the treaty, ratified in 1988, which was designed to eliminate ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 km (310 to 3,400 miles). The United States has called for senior-level talks to discuss Russia's compliance.

It was unclear whether General Gerasimov's conversation with General Dempsey was part of those talks.

Russia's Foreign Ministry denied the U.S. accusations as "unfounded" and said it had its own complaints against the United States over the treaty.

Washington has given no details over how in its view Russia violated the treaty, but the New York Times had reported in January that Washington informed its NATO partners that Russia had tested a ground-launched cruise missile.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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