NATO chief: Moscow is developing more missiles in breach of treaty

Brussels - Moscow is continuing to develop nuclear-capable missiles in breach of a bilateral treaty with the United States and has equipped several battalions with them, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Tuesday.

The US and NATO argue that Russia's SSC-8 cruise missile system violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a 1987 disarmament agreement. Washington announced at the start of the month that it would withdraw, prompting Moscow to follow suit.

The US announcement has triggered a six-month window in which to convince Moscow to return to compliance with the treaty before it permanently lapses.
Stoltenberg urged Russia on Tuesday to seize the "last opportunity to take the responsible path," while noting that NATO must prepare for a world without the INF Treaty.
NATO defence ministers are due to discuss what new measures would be necessary to protect Europe from the threat of Russian missiles, at two-day talks in Brussels starting Wednesday.
"We do not intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe," Stoltenberg said.
"We don't have to mirror what Russia does. But we need to make sure that we have effective deterrence and defence," he later added.
The INF Treaty, signed towards the end of the Cold War, has formed the basis of Europe's security architecture for the past three decades.
Stoltenberg also accused Moscow of trying to "distract attention" from its own breaches by accusing NATO of violating the INF Treaty.
A NATO missile defence system in Romania and Poland is purely defensive and only has unarmed interceptors, while no offensive missiles will be stationed there, Stoltenberg said.


Tuesday, February 12th 2019

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