North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief vows response to Russian missile pact violations

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 14, 2019

During a gathering of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, Mr Stoltenberg urged Russian Federation to follow the rules of the treaty which, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and the president of the then-USSR Mikhail Gorbachev, banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the meeting that Russia's SSC-8 missile system is a significant risk to the security of the Alliance.

Mr Stoltenberg reiterated Russian Federation has breached the treaty multiple times, saying: "All European allies agree with the United States because Russian Federation has violated the treaty for several years. And we do not intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief stated.

Stoltenberg said ministers will meet Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the "steps North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should take to adapt to a world with more Russian missiles".

The US withdrawal will only take effect in August, giving a six-month window to save the treaty, but few expect this to happen and Stoltenberg said NATO had to prepare for a "future without the INF treaty and with more missiles".

NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gestures during a news conference at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

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.

"It's important that we don't start hierarchising or excluding individual points now, but really leave the whole palette on the table", she told reporters.

The top USA envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Washington was open to a broad treaty with Russian Federation to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons while also warning Turkey not to purchase a new arms system from Moscow.

"Moscow continues to develop and deploy several battalions of the SSC-8 missile", Stoltenberg said.

Moscow denies the missile breaches the terms of the INF treaty and has made various counter-allegations against the US.

Stoltenberg ruled out deploying new nuclear land-based weapon systems in Europe, but added their were other choices, including "conventional and other options".

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