USA to suspend nuclear pact over alleged violations

US delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday

US delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday

Speaking after the release of Nato's statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russian Federation had 60 days to return to compliance with the treaty, after which time the US would suspend its own compliance.

NATO allies say they have concluded that Russian Federation is in violation of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear treaty, paving the way for the United States to leave the pact unless Moscow complies with it.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would be forced to respond if the United States exits the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces arms control treaty.

President Donald Trump earlier this year announced his decision to withdraw from the INF, which has been described as a cornerstone of global security, accusing Russian Federation and China - which is not a signatory to the treaty - of violating it.

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The EU foreign and security policy chief remarked this upon her arrival to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign minister's meeting on Wednesday, when journalists asked "should European citizens feel concerned after this stern warning that (US State Secretary) Mike Pompeo launched to Russian Federation?"

Meanwhile, NATO foreign ministers in a statement on 4 December collectively declared for the first time that Russia's 9M729 missile violates the INF Treaty and that it was now up to Moscow to preserve the accord.

In addition, Pompeo said the United States would consult with its European allies and other partners on the next steps Washington will take in the event of a possible withdrawal from the INF Treaty. "So I think the American argument would be, 'Let us get together and convey a strict message to Moscow that if it wants the treaty saved, it will have to make a concession and it will have to abide by the treaty, '" Eyal told VOA.

Mr. Pompeo's announcement Tuesday marked an escalation of USA threats to abandon the INF in response to Russian cheating and, on Wednesday, Mr. Gerasimov emphasized Moscow's frustration at the move.

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.

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The European Union has urged both the United States and Russian Federation to uphold the INF treaty, saying the pact is one of the cornerstones of European security.

"If the INF treaty is destroyed, we won't leave it without a response", he said in a presentation to foreign military attaches in Moscow, according to a report by The Moscow Times newspaper.

Former Russian lieutenant-general Evgeny Buzhinskiy said the terrifying weapons system is capable of penetrating anti-missile defences in the United States and Europe.

"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", he said.

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