US Gives Russia 60 Days to Comply With Nuclear Treaty

US Gives Russia 60 Days to Comply With Nuclear Treaty

US Gives Russia 60 Days to Comply With Nuclear Treaty

"The target for Russian retaliation won't be USA territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed", Russian General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov said, a day after the Trump administration said it is preparing to withdraw from the 30-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

"Our nations have a choice".

The Trump administration has complained of Moscow's deployment of Novator 9M729 missiles, which Washington says fall under the treaty's ban on missiles that can travel distances of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

Pompeo said the United States government had raised the issue at least 30 times since 2013 with Moscow but had faced what he said were denials and counter-actions.

Pompeo accused Russian Federation of deploying "multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles", a land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

When asked about the ultimatum, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said statements from the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation were whipping up tensions.

Pompeo said the United States would welcome it if Russian Federation destroys that program within the next two months and then complies with the INF Treaty's terms.

In Brussels, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini urged Russian Federation and the U.S. to save the treaty, warning that Europe did not want to become a battlefield for global powers once again, as it had been during the Cold War.

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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.

Meanwhile, in Brussels Tuesday, during a separate speech hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Pompeo dismissed claims that the United States was withdrawing from the global stage under President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

"We call on Russian Federation to urgently return to full and verifiable compliance with the INF Treaty".

Over the past five years, the U.S. has raised its concerns over the SSC-8 at least 30 times with Russian Federation "to the highest levels of leadership", Pompeo said, only to be met with denials, obfuscation and spurious counter-claims.

"It is illogical. It is risky as instead of discussing development goals we will find ourselves back in a situation of armed confrontation".

Mr. Pompeo's announcement Tuesday marked an escalation of US threats to abandon the INF in response to Russian cheating and, on Wednesday, Mr. Gerasimov emphasized Moscow's frustration at the move.

"During this 60 days we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we'll see what happens during this 60-day period", he said.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, warned that failing to negotiate a solution with Moscow "risks the start of a new missile race in Europe that will undermine European security".

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