NATO's Stoltenberg: INF Treaty stand-off is 'not tenable'

Brussels - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday reiterated his call for Moscow to fully comply with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, saying that the current impasse is "not tenable."

The 1987 treaty bans nuclear-armed missiles with a range of up to 5,500 kilometres. The deal has formed the basis of Europe's security architecture, curbing the risk of nuclear attack.
The US accuses Russia of breaching the deal with its Novator 9M729 cruise missile, known also as the SSC-8, unveiled earlier this year.
Stoltenberg was speaking to reporters a day before foreign ministers from NATO member countries meet to discuss the INF treaty, Russia-Ukraine tensions and other security challenges.
If Russia does not return to compliance, NATO will respond appropriately, Stoltenberg said. However, "NATO will not mirror what Russia does," he added.
Russia insists that the SSC-8 has a range of less than 500 kilometres and thus falls within the provisions of the INF.
But Stoltenberg has noted that the missiles are mobile and easy to hide, and in principle could be within range of Berlin if placed in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania.
The two-day ministers' conference will also take up security issues in the Western Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as the recent flare-up between Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea.
On November 25, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean Peninsula, a territory it annexed from Ukraine four years ago.


Monday, December 3rd 2018

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