Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Countries accommodating United States weapons likely targets, Russian Federation threatens over nuclear treaty withdrawal

Countries accommodating United States weapons likely targets, Russian Federation threatens over nuclear treaty withdrawal

Russia fully adheres to the provisions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the United States knows well, Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, in response to the latest statements by the United States and its allies that urged Moscow to return to full compliance with the agreement.

"Our nations have a choice".

The INF treaty, signed by ex-US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S Gorbachev in 1987, bans the development and deployment of cruise missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km.

US President Donald Trump has previously threatened to pull out of the bilateral pact.

This video grab provided by RU-RTR Russian television via AP television on Thursday, March 1, 2018, shows the launch of what President Vladimir Putin said is Russia's new nuclear-powered intercontinental cruise missile.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said facts had been distorted "in order to camouflage the true goal of the United States withdrawing from the treaty".

The Kinzhal has an operating range of over 2,000km and can reach speeds of 7,670 miles per hour, making it "invulnerable to the air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems existing today", Russian news agency TASS reported.

The treaty, negotiated by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, prevents the US and Russian Federation them from building or deploying nuclear-capable missiles and launch systems with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

"The statements issued today by both Secretary Pompeo and the NATO Foreign Ministers that Russian Federation is in material breach of the INF Treaty are a clear indication that our European allies have joined with us in recognition of how grave the threat from Russian Federation has become", Cheney said in a statement.

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In turn, NATO foreign ministers agreed to formally declare Russian Federation in "material breach" of the INF treaty in a statement in support of the US.

Putin went on to accuse the USA of planning to withdraw from the treaty and simply blame Russian Federation for their decision.

Putin told Russian news agencies that a US withdrawal from the treaty would mean Washington has concluded it "has to have these weapons" and that Moscow "will do the same".

The United States remains in compliance with the treaty, according to the Department of State.

"Russia's reply has been consistent: deny any wrongdoing, demand more information, and issue baseless counter-accusations", Pompeo said.

The deal marked the first-ever pact reached by Washington and Moscow on nuclear disarmament and a major step forward in restricting arms race.

"No proof has been produced to support this American position", Zakharova said.

However, Nato allies would have to agree unanimously to have any new missile deployed in Europe.

Top U.S. officials view Russia's non-compliance with the INF Treaty as part of Moscow's broader campaign of malign activity around the globe, including in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria.

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