Russian Federation responds to U.S. withdrawal of Cold War arms treaty

Howard TerryDec 08, 2018

Vladimir Putin has threatened that Russian Federation will develop new missiles banned by the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty if the United States exits the pact and pursues an arms buildup of its own.

Russian Federation has denied violating the INF treaty, at first denying the existence of the weapons system and then later admitting it existed but arguing it was in compliance.

"It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that constrains our ability to respond to Russia's violations".

Putin said on Wednesday that the USA decision to ditch the INF means Washington has decided the U.S. "has to have these weapons". "Russia has a last chance to show in a verifiable way that they comply with the treaty. but we also have to start to prepare for the fact that this treaty may break down", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Russian Federation had 60 days to come back into compliance with the treaty, or the United States would pull out of it. "It is now up to Russian Federation to decide over the next 60 days whether it wants to return to full, verifiable compliance, and if not I fully support the Administration's decision to suspend its obligations under the treaty", she said. "This is part of Russia's broader pattern of behaviour that is meant to weaken the overall Euro-Atlantic security architecture", the military alliance said, arguing that the US and its allies had remained in full compliance.

Pompeo said Tuesday after NATO allies supported Washington's contention that Russian Federation has violated the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty: "We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action" over Russia's contravention of the pact.

Russian officials warned that Moscow would take retaliatory measures if Washington withdraws from the INF Treaty. No proof (of our alleged violation) has been presented to us. "The decision had been made some time ago, but quietly - they thought we wouldn't notice it". "Let's see what will happen during these 60 days", said U.S. Secretary of state.

Earlier Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said it's deployed laser weapons, one of several systems President Vladimir Putin touted as a new generation of armaments during his annual address in March. "It's so serious that if I start listing potential retaliatory measures, this will only increase uncertainty and tension, so we will do this in a balanced and responsible way", said the Secretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

While Mr. Pompeo's announcement left open a 60-day window for talks, the dramatic move set nerves on edge at a gathering of NATO's top diplomats, raising the prospect that new Cold War-style arms race could be about to play out across the continent.

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