Russian Federation nuclear treaty is in "real danger": NATO chief

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 14, 2019

Speaking at NATO headquarters Wednesday, where defense ministers are discussing the future of the imperiled Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Stoltenberg said: "This is very serious".

The Pentagon believes that Russia's ground-fired Novator 9M729 cruise missile - known in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation parlance as the SSC-8 - could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. On Feb. 2, Washington launched the six-month process of leaving the INF, insisting that a missile system Russian Federation calls the Novator 9M729 - known at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as the SSC-8 - breaks the pact's range requirements.

President Vladimir Putin a day later said Moscow would also abandon the accord, which restricts the deployment of missiles with a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) to 5,500 kilometers.

Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, centre, arrives for a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.

The two-day meeting in Brussels is the first chance for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministers to debate what steps the alliance will take to bolster its defence against new Russian medium-range missiles. "We all know that a treaty that is only respected by one side can not keep us safe".

Stoltenberg's comments came after Russia's Ministry of Defense said last Thursday that the United States should destroy its MK-41 missile defense systems deployed in Romania in order to return to compliance.

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The Pentagon believes Russia's ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.

Ruling out the adoption of nuclear weapons at this stage, Mr Stoltenberg said: "Any steps we take will be coordinated, measured and defensive".

Russian Federation insists it has a range of less than 500 kilometers, and claims that US target-practice missiles and drones also break the treaty. "Now America is going forward with the treaty protocol to give notice that we need to begin to develop a defense to the violating missiles that Russian Federation has been developing".

The warning came after President Donald Trump said on February 1 he would pull out of the landmark 1987 nuclear disarmament treaty, called the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing years of Russian violations.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been adamant that Turkey would take the Russian missile system, saying traditional allies in the West failed to meet his country's defensive needs.

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