U.S. would destroy banned Russian warheads if necessary -NATO envoy

Howard TerryOct 05, 2018

Such a move could lead to nuclear war. But the damage was already done. "The American people? Do ordinary Americans know that they are paying out of their pockets for so-called diplomats who behave so aggressively and destructively?"

NATO defence ministers meeting at Alliance headquarters in Brussels from Wednesday (Oct 3) will discuss their concerns that Russian Federation is building a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, US Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchinson said.

Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty required the United States and Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently commit not to develop nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,000 kilometres.

If the system "became capable of delivering", she said, the United States "would then be looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America".

The treaty, which the United States and the Soviet Union signed in 1987, prohibits the production and deployment of nuclear and conventional missiles that fly from 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

"They are building a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the INF". Is she threatening a pre-emptive strike out of the blue? "As an expert, I am used to politicians, including politicians who have been appointed as ambassadors, badly mangling simple things". There's some evidence however that's actually not what Hutchison meant. Several pointed out that taking "countermeasures" against undeployed missiles that are still in development by definition would be a preemptive strike. The treaty bans nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missiles that could hit Europe or US territory such as Alaska. "The U.S. has acted, showing that our commitment to the transatlantic alliance remains iron-clad", he said.

Moscow has also said that armed U.S. drones like the Predator and Reaper violate the treaty, because they could be considered ground-launched weapons.

The U.S. government believes that Russian Federation now owns a missile, the Novator 9M729, which violates the INF treaty.

Hutchison added that Russian Federation was "on notice" that the U.S. was prepared to launch preemptive military strikes against them, and would not allow Russian Federation to keep any missiles that the usa believes are in violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

At that time, the Trump administration said it was fully prepared for those weapons and accused Russian Federation of violating its treaty obligations.

The INF Treaty, signed in 1987 between the US and Soviet Union, prohibits either country from developing nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 310 miles and 3,100 miles.

But potential counter measures would include the option "to take out the missiles that are in development by Russian Federation in violation of the treaty", she said. The 9M729 system has an assessed range of up to 3,400 miles, far above what the INF permits.

Russian contacts told Mattis, the United States defence chief, in summer a year ago, that if a conventional conflict erupted in Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania, then it would strike targets in Europe using "tactical" nuclear weapons, Woodward said, citing Pentagon sources. Russian Federation has not provided any credible answers on this new missile.

"The exercise is defensive, and it is transparent", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leader told reporters on the first day of a two-day meeting of the 29-member alliance's defence ministers at its new Brussels headquarters.

But behind the scenes, officials in Washington pressed for Hutchison to backtrack on her comments, especially after the Russians mocked her remarks, and then suggested it was the United States, not Russia, that was deploying weapons in violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, which dates to the Reagan administration.

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