If US develops banned missiles, so will Russia: Putin

If US develops banned missiles, so will Russia: Putin

If US develops banned missiles, so will Russia: Putin

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would no longer be bound by the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty unless Moscow withdraws a new system that has threatened to trigger an arms race.

Pompeo accused Russian Federation of deploying "multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles", a land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Belgium Tuesday, claiming Russian Federation is already flagrantly violating the INF and asserting that Washington will "remedy" the situation by pulling out of the pact in 60 days unless Moscow takes clear steps to come back into compliance. He added that Russia's actions "greatly undermine America's national security and that of our allies".

The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the US Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world's two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

The bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles).

In Brussels, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini urged Russian Federation and the United States to save the treaty, warning that Europe did not want to become a battlefield for global powers once again, as it had been during the Cold War.

Russian Federation annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, sparking NATO's biggest military buildup in Eastern Europe since the Cold War.

"We definitely do not want to see this being torn apart; we definitely do not want to walk backwards", Mogherini said, according to the EEAS website.

This is not true, we are against destruction of the treaty.

Pompeo said there was no reason why the United States "should continue to cede this crucial military advantage" to rival powers. Pompeo warned that if Russian Federation did not comply with the treaty's terms within 60 days, Washington could activate a six-month notice period for leaving the 1987 pact.

"No evidence to support this American position has ever been presented to us".

Meanwhile, the NATO chief has warned that time is running out for Russian Federation to comply with the missile treaty.

"If the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] treaty is destroyed, we won't leave it without a response", he said, The Moscow Times reported.

In a direct threat to European leaders, Mr Gerasimov said: "You as military professionals must understand that the target for Russian retaliation won't be U.S. territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed".

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