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Russia threatens to make banned missiles if U.S. leaves arms treaty

06 December, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • US delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday

The latest spike in tensions came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would withdraw from a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms within 60 days if Russian Federation does not dismantle missiles that the US claims breach the deal.

"Our nations have a choice".

The 1987 INF treaty, negotiated by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, eliminated all nuclear missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, reducing the ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

US President Donald Trump has previously threatened to pull out of the bilateral pact.

While the United States threatens to pull out from the INF Treaty, it has already done something similar in the recent past.

But Mr Putin says the accusation is a pretext for the U.S. to leave the pact. Putin, in televised comments, said that Moscow was against the scrapping of the treaty, but that the United States had long ago made a decision to exit the treaty and was blaming Russian Federation for violations in order for them to serve as a pretext.

The Kinzhal has an operating range of over 2,000km and can reach speeds of 7,670 miles per hour, making it "invulnerable to the air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems existing today", Russian news agency TASS reported.

Mr Putin also said he would be forced to retaliate if the U.S. presses ahead with its threat of exiting the INF treaty.

It is also possible for Russia to deploy intermediate-range missiles, and primarily cruise missiles, in Latin American countries like Cuba, once the INF Treaty is terminated, according to Leonid Ivashov, former head of the Russian Defense Ministry's main department for global military cooperation.

Putin went on to accuse the US of planning to withdraw from the treaty and simply blame Russian Federation for their decision.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will suspend its obligations under a landmark nuclear treaty in 60 days in response to Russia's alleged violation of the pact.

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 worldwide stage under President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

The ministers called on Russian Federation "to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance".

"Russia's reply has been consistent: deny any wrongdoing, demand more information, and issue baseless counter-accusations", Pompeo said.

"We've talked to the Russians a great deal", he said.

Putin claimed that the United States was seeking to use Russian Federation as a scapegoat for the demise of the INF by accusing it of a violation.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members would have to unanimously agree to hosting USA missiles, which could take a long period of time to develop.

He said the United States will produce, test and deploy new missiles now banned under the treaty, a move that could pave the way for a nuclear arms race.

Putin in March described the new arms as Russia's response to the US decision in 2002 to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and develop its global defense shield.

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