Putin: If US pulls out of nuclear treaty, Russian Federation will too

Putin: If US pulls out of nuclear treaty, Russian Federation will too

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the INF ultimatum during a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

The foreign ministers of NATO member countries said Tuesday in a statement that they supported the USA finding that Russian Federation is in "material breach" of its obligations under the INF Treaty and called on Russian Federation to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance.

Pompeo explained that the United States will not produce, test or, deploy any weapons systems during the 60 day period that would be in violation of the INF Treaty to provide Russian Federation with a chance to return to compliance.

Russian Federation flatly denies undertaking any new development of land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads and hitting European cities at short notice.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday dismissed United States claims Russian Federation is violating a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms, as a senior general lashed out at Washington's attempts to "contain" Moscow.

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

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after the decision that the United States would suspend its treaty obligations in 60 days over the alleged violations.

Pompeo said Russian Federation had developed "multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles", referring to the land-based, intermediate-range cruise missile which also has the name of Novator 9M729. "At first, the American side did announce its intent to withdraw from the INF Treaty, and then they started seeking justifications as to why they should do it". Tests and deployments of new missiles were on hold, he said.

US Cruise and Pershing missiles deployed in Britain and West Germany were removed as a result of the treaty, while the Soviet Union pulled back its SS-20s out of European range. Moscow has argued that the system's vertical launchers are designed for offensive purposes, including the use of sea-based intermediate-range Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Meanwhile, in Brussels Tuesday, during a separate speech hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Pompeo dismissed claims that the United States was withdrawing from the worldwide stage under President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

The Trump administration has previously said the pact puts the USA at a disadvantage with countries such as China, who are exempt from the treaty. This is not true, we are against destruction of the treaty.

In return, NATO foreign ministers agreed to formally declare Russian Federation in "material breach" of the INF treaty in a statement in support of the US.

"One of the main destructive factors complicating the global situation is how the USA is acting as it attempts to retain its dominant role in the world", he said in comments released by the defence ministry.

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that it says shows that Russia's new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.

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