Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Putin confirms Russia WILL respond if United States pulls out of nuclear treaty

Putin confirms Russia WILL respond if United States pulls out of nuclear treaty

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gesture as they speak before posing for a family photo during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2018.

The US and NATO say Russia's 9M729 system, also known by the designation SSC-8, violates the INF treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

If Russia is serious about preserving the treaty, the release added, it should discuss United States concerns over the 9M729 missile system.

The United States warned Russian Federation on Tuesday it will withdraw from a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms if Moscow does not dismantle missiles that Washington says breach it within 60 days.

"It has to be fully implemented, so I hope that the time that is there to work on preserving the treaty and achieving its full implementation can be used wisely from all sides, and we will definitely try to make our part to make sure this happens".

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected accusations of noncompliance: "Russia strictly complies with the conditions of the treaty and the U.S. side is aware of that".

In Moscow on Wednesday, Putin told journalists the U.S. had provided "no evidence" of Russian violations, and threatened an arms race if the USA sought to develop new medium-range missiles after exiting the treaty.

Pompeo said that Russian Federation is in "material breach" of the contract.

Western powers say a Russian missile system developed and fielded over the last five years breaches the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

The INF was a bilateral treaty between the USA and the then Soviet Union, so it puts no restrictions on other major military actors like China.

Vladimir Putin has warned of a new arms race, saying that if the United States starts developing banned intermediate-range missiles, so will Moscow.

Pompeo said Washington "would welcome a Russian change of heart" but that he has seen no indication that Moscow is likely to comply.

Mr Pompeo signalled that, after the 60-day period, Washington would increase its presence in Europe to restore military balance, but declined to give more details. "It's urgent that Russian Federation ensures full compliance in a transparent and verifiable way, because the INF treaty is so important for our security, " Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday.

Russia's response, according to Putin, will be: "We will do the same". "No evidence to support this American position has ever been presented to us".

The 29-nation alliance, which the US dominates, said the Kremlin needs to show compliance "urgently".

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