US threatens to pull out of nuclear missile treaty

US threatens to pull out of nuclear missile treaty

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday warned Russian Federation that if it did not dismantle its 9M279 mobile ground-launched missile system, Washington would no longer be bound by the treaty.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said it was now "up to Russia" to save the deal, seen by many as an important part of the global arms control architecture, and alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said it was time to prepare for its demise.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that although Moscow has a last chance to comply with the INF, "we must also start to prepare for a world without the treaty".

Foreign ministers from NATO member countries said in a statement Tuesday from Brussels that they "strongly support the finding of the United States that Russian Federation is in material breach of its obligations" under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

She turned to her colleagues on the other side of the aisle and asked for their support.

The US won strong backing for its position from the rest of the NATO allies, who said in a joint statement that it was "now up to Russian Federation to preserve the INF treaty".

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected accusations of noncompliance: "Russia strictly complies with the conditions of the treaty and the United States side is aware of that".

Russian Federation has denied USA and NATO allegations that it is violating the landmark treaty that banned an entire class of weapons.

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The INF treaty was a US-Soviet agreement aimed at reducing the superpowers' nuclear arsenal.

Russian Federation denied being in breach of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, saying it "strictly abides" by its conditions.

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

When signed in 1987, the INF treaty was lauded as a major safeguard for global security since they eliminated shorter-range missiles that take just a few minutes to reach their targets.

"During this 60 days, we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we'll see what happens during this 60-day period", Pompeo told journalists in Brussels. "No evidence to support this American position has ever been presented to us".

"They are not going to change course on the basis of a US threat to withdraw", Kimball said.

DW's correspondent at NATO Teri Schultz said the USA had allowed the 60-day concession in response to European concerns over an immediate withdrawal and followed direct intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the US ultimatum was an "escalation of the situation".

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