US Gives Russia 60 Days to Comply With Nuclear Treaty

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that although Moscow has a last chance to comply with the INF, "we must also start to prepare for a world without the treaty".

Signed in 1987 by then U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, the INF resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals.

Mr Putin, who stated this in televised comments, accused the U.S.of blaming Russian Federation for violations as a pretext for Washington to exit the pact.

"We already have in operation, one of our hypersonic systems", he told Daily Star Online.

US allies lobbied Pompeo to provide the 60-day window, hoping that a diplomatic solution can be secured during that time.

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He claims the USA has raised the troubling issue with Russian Federation at least 30 times over the past five years but has been met with continued denials and counter-accusations. "We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action in response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF Treaty", Pompeo told reporters.

The development comes on the heels of Donald Trump's October statement suggesting that China should be part of the INF Treaty. "We're hopeful they'll change course, but there's been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so".

The other members of NATO agreed that Russian Federation is in violation because it has "developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty".

Putin dismissed Pompeo's statement as a smokescreen, saying Washington had already made a decision to ditch the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).

"As military professionals, you should understand that not the U.S. territory, but the countries hosting United States systems with intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles will become targets for Russia's retaliatory steps", Gerasimov said.

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Moscow on Wednesday dismissed United States claims that Russian Federation is violating a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms, from which Washington is planning to withdraw.

"The United States and our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies stand vigilant that Russia's lawless conduct will not be tolerated in the realm of arms control or anywhere else", he said.

"Apparently, our American partners believe that the situation has changed so drastically that the USA should also have such weapons", Putin said in remarks carried by the Interfax news service.

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

"It is for these purposes that Washington and its allies are taking comprehensive, concerted measures to contain Russian Federation and discredit its role in global affairs". "Let's see what will happen during these 60 days", said U.S. Secretary of state. Russia's response will depend on the place of their deployment - if Europe, then we will deploy our complexes at our western borders, and if Asia, it means that Russian missiles will be on the Asian territory of the Russian Federation. The U.S. 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.

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"The United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force", the ministers said in their joint statement.

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