Pompeo says U.S. suspending landmark nuclear deal because of Russian violations

Nuclear treaties between the US and Russia

Nuclear treaties between the US and Russia

"In light of these facts", Pompeo said in his statement, "the United States today declares it has found Russian Federation in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance".

Washington alleges Russia's new SSC8 missile system contravenes the Cold War-era treaty, which bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (310-3,410 miles).

"Allies have concluded that Russian Federation has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security", NATO foreign ministers said in a statement after a meeting.

Pompeo said there was no reason why the USA "should continue to cede this crucial military advantage" to rival powers.

"Allies have concluded that Russian Federation has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security". "At the end of the 60 days, it's going to be a free-for-all".

Accusing Russia of "cheating at its arms control obligations", Pompeo told a news conference in Brussels that Russia has 60 days to return to compliance with the treaty, after which time the United States would suspend its own compliance.

Federica Mogherini has warned that Europe does not want to become a battlefield for global powers once again
Federica Mogherini has warned that Europe does not want to become a battlefield for global powers once again

"The INF has guaranteed peace and security in European territory for 30 years now", Mogherini said as she arrived for talks with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers.

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".

The US has shared intelligence evidence that the ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.

The INF was a bilateral treaty between the United States and the then Soviet Union, so it puts no restrictions on other major military actors like China. "During the 60 days, we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we'll see what happens during this 60-day period". Meanwhile, it accuses the U.S. of violating the INF by the deployment of the Aegis missile defence system in Romania and Poland, on the grounds that the launchers used in that system for defensive interceptors could be adapted to fire offensive cruise missiles.

China, North Korea, and Iran are not obligated by the treaty's limitations, and, "This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles they would like", he said.

"Russia's violation of the INF Treaty erodes the foundations of effective arms control and undermines Allied security".

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