Countries accommodating U.S. weapons likely targets, Russian Federation threatens over nuclear treaty withdrawal

Arturo Kim
December 6, 2018

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial meeting on December 4, Pompeo said that Washington would abandon the INF in 60 days unless Moscow dismantles the missiles, which he said were a "material breach" of the accord.

The United States delivered Russian Federation a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of an arms control treaty that keeps missiles out of Europe.

If Russia does not comply within the 60-day deadline, the U.S. will begin the six-month process of formally withdrawing from the INF treaty.

Putin told Russian news agencies that a US withdrawal from the treaty would mean Washington has concluded it "has to have these weapons" and that Moscow "will do the same".

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His comments came hours after the US said it would pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 60 days if Russian Federation doesn't stop alleged violations.

President Donald Trump earlier this year announced his decision to withdraw from the INF, which has been described as a cornerstone of global security, accusing Russian Federation and China - which is not a signatory to the treaty - of violating it.

The ministers called on Russian Federation "to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance". The United States holds that Russian Federation has violated the treaty since the mid-2000s by testing the SSC-8 missile system.

His comments follow Nato's accusation on Tuesday that Russian Federation has already broken the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

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Stoltenberg said the 29 NATO allies will "collectively develop responses" should the treaty be abandoned, but he declined to say what they might be.

His warning may give Trump pause for thought as he edges closer to unilaterally withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which prohibits the deployment of intermediate range ground-based missiles.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that facts had been distorted "in order to camouflage the true goal of the U.S. withdrawing from the treaty".

Buzhinskiy said: "We started to work on this system after the U.S. withdrew from an ABM treaty".

It is alleged that Moscow has violated the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty - a historic pact that kept such deadly missiles out of Europe.

The treaty was negotiated by then president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of both superpowers, reducing their ability to launch a military strike at short notice.

"The Russian side has repeatedly declared that this is, to say the least, speculation", Zakharova said of the US allegation.

"If we do not, we will get cheated by other nations, expose Americans to greater risk, and squander our credibility", Pompeo said.

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