U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NATO ministers in Brussels Tuesday it will begin the six-month process of withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 60 days if Moscow does not regain compliance with the treaty.
The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the US Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world's two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice. "We definitely do not want to see this being torn apart; we definitely do not want to walk backwards", Mogherini said, according to the EEAS website. In a televised address, Putin said Washington was accusing Moscow of violating the 1987 nuclear arms control treaty to be able to exit the agreement.
Russian Federation denies undertaking any such development of land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads and hitting European cities at short notice.
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.
Russia lashed out Wednesday in response to Washington's threat to pull out of a key Cold War weapons treaty, with a top general in Moscow saying Russian forces will target European countries hosting American missiles if the US follows through on the threat.
Vladimir Putin has warned of a new arms race, saying that if the USA starts developing banned intermediate-range missiles, so will Moscow.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NATO allies on Tuesday that the U.S.is setting a two-month deadline for Russian Federation to return to compliance with the INF treaty before carrying out President Donald Trump's threat in October to withdraw from the accord.More news: Kareem Hunt will be interviewed on Sunday morning
The statement said the member nations "strongly support" the USA claim that Russian Federation is in breach of the pact, and called on Moscow to "return urgently to full and verifiable compliance".
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.
"Russia's reply has been consistent: deny any wrongdoing, demand more information, and issue baseless counter-accusations", Pompeo said.
The Russian armed forces have entered a new, futuristic weapon into service as talk of new conflicts between Moscow, its neighbors and the West plagued the European continent.
However, Nato allies would have to agree unanimously to have any new missile deployed in Europe.
The NATO partners on Tuesday also held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
"If we do not, we will get cheated by other nations, expose Americans to greater risk, and squander our credibility", Pompeo said.
"The Russian side has repeatedly declared that this is, to say the least, speculation", Zakharova said of the USA allegation.