US threatens to pull out of nuclear missile treaty

The US Secretary of State told a meeting in Brussels: "In the light of these facts, the United States declares Russian Federation in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations - effective in 60 days - unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance".

Russian Federation will target countries hosting US missiles if Washington goes ahead with plans to pull out of a landmark Cold War arms treaty, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said Wednesday.

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President Donald Trump announced on October 20, that the United States will pull out of the treaty, but no formal notice has been served.

They called on Russian Federation "to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance". The US and Nato have said that tests of a new Russian cruise missile, designated 9M729, violate the treaty.

His comments follow Nato's accusation on Tuesday that Russian Federation has already broken the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

In addition, Pompeo said the United States would consult with its European allies and other partners on the next steps Washington will take in the event of a possible withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

"Our immediate task should be to work with our European allies to bring [Russia] back into compliance, not to unilaterally withdraw from the Treaty", US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel said on Tuesday.

Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday that shipping traffic has resumed on the Sea, but a senior U.S. State Department official said that at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "no one would see that as a satisfactory move or the end of the matter".

Vladimir Putin has threatened that Russian Federation will develop new missiles banned by the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty if the U.S. exits the pact and pursues an arms buildup of its own. "At first, the American side did announce its intent to withdraw from the INF Treaty, and then they started seeking justifications as to why they should do it".

"They thought we would not notice", the Kremlin chief said, claiming the Pentagon has already earmarked an amount for the development of missiles banned by the treaty.

But it was a bilateral treaty between the USA and the then Soviet Union, so it puts no restrictions on other major military actors like China.

Trump had said he wants talks with Vladimir Putin Xi Jinping "to head off an uncontrollable arms race".

NATO said Tuesday it is "up to Russia" to save a Cold War nuclear arms reduction treaty that the USA has threatened to leave, accusing Moscow of breaching the agreement.

Under the arms control treaty, signed in 1972 by the former U.S. president Richard Nixon Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev, the number of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) complexes were limited.

Vanessa Coleman

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