Putin warns U.S. on leaving arms treaty

Putin warns U.S. on leaving arms treaty

"In light of these facts", Pompeo said in his statement, "the United States today declares it has found Russian Federation in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance".

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".

"It is "simplest" for the United States to say, 'Russia is to blame, '" Putin said.

Russian Federation denies undertaking any such development of land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads and hitting European cities at short notice.

In the case of the INF accord, however, Europe sought to find a last-minute degree of common ground by arguing that any unilateral USA withdrawal without giving Russian Federation a final chance to show goodwill would let the Kremlin point the finger at Trump.

At the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial meeting on December 4, Pompeo said that Washington would abandon the INF in 60 days unless Moscow dismantles the missiles, which he said were a "material breach" of the accord.

"These violations of the INF treaty can not be viewed in isolation from the larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage", he added.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied that Russia was out of compliance with the treaty.


In Moscow on Wednesday, Putin told journalists the U.S. had provided "no evidence" of Russian violations, and threatened an arms race if the USA sought to develop new medium-range missiles after exiting the treaty.

Speaking at a briefing of foreign military attaches earlier, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of the Russian military, warned of a Russian response and said that it would be the countries that host US intermediate-range missiles that would become immediate targets for Russia.

At issue is a new Russian missile system - known as both the 9M729 and SSC-8 - that is nuclear-capable and violates the treaty's ban on ground-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (311-3,418 miles).

Mr Pompeo signalled that, after the 60-day period, Washington would increase its presence in Europe to restore military balance, but declined to give more details.

"The Russian side has repeatedly declared that this is, to say the least, speculation", Zakharova said of the USA allegation.

"They are not going to change course on the basis of a US threat to withdraw", Kimball said.

NATO and the USA say the 9M279 - also known by the designation SSC-8 - violates the INF treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres. "No evidence to support this American position has ever been presented to us".

Putin on Wednesday accused the United States of making up excuses for pulling out of the pact, saying that the US first made up its mind to walk out of it and only then "started to look for the reasons why they should do it".

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