Brexit debate, Russian Federation missiles, George H.W. Bush funeral

05 December, 2018, 16:10 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin

NATO allies led by Germany pressed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting in Brussels to give diplomacy one last chance before Washington pulls out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), fearing a new arms race in Europe.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, warned that failing to negotiate a solution with Moscow "risks the start of a new missile race in Europe that will undermine European security".

Pompeo said the United States government had raised the issue at least 30 times since 2013 with Moscow but had faced what he said were denials and counter-actions.

The United States has accused Russian Federation of breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, threatening to pull out of the deal in two months.

The ministers called on Russian Federation "to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action in response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF Treaty", he said.

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.

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.

"These violations of the INF treaty can not be viewed in isolation from the larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage", he added.

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Russian officials have repeatedly dismissed such demands and Putin gave no indication that Russia plans to abandon the 9M729, which it claims does not violate the treaty.

"Measures were considered to reinforce the armed forces' combat capacity and means amid the mounting arms race related to the USA plans to quit the INF Treaty", Shoigu told reporters during a conference.

The prospect of U.S. missiles on European soil is a concern for states including Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, whose representatives have urged Mr Pompeo to continue with diplomacy in fear of a European arms race.

"Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe", Pompeo said of the missiles, which also are called Novator 9M729, after a meeting with his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts.

In a news conference at that time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he believed that, despite Russia's insistence, "the most plausible assessment would be that Russian Federation is in violation of the treaty".

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

Putin said on Wednesday that the U.S. decision to ditch the INF means Washington has decided the United States "has to have these weapons".

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