Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

NATO says Russian Federation in breach of arms treaty

NATO says Russian Federation in breach of arms treaty

The Trump administration argues that Russian Federation isn't keeping up its end of the bargain of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms treaty, which was has been a key component of European security since the Cold War.

Without the INF Treaty, the question becomes how will the USA contain Russia's missile proliferation.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russian Federation was violating the terms of the agreement.

Both Trump and Pompeo said the USA withdrawal is backed by NATO allies, who joined Washington in December to declare Moscow in material breach of the treaty.

If Russia doesn't return to full compliance of the treaty within six months, the treaty will be terminated.

At the same time, the officials acknowledged a US assessment that China has roughly 1,000 missiles that would be considered INF non-compliant.

Critics like Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, say the Trump administration "lacks a coherent strategy to address the threat new Russian cruise missiles pose to the interests of the United States and those of our allies".

The briefing also comes one day after an attempt to rescue the treaty failed. The pact bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,400 miles).

"The United States has fully adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russian Federation misrepresents its actions".

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"I conclude that the United States was not expecting any decision and all this was a game made to cover their domestic decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty".

"For any arms control treaty to be effective, every party must abide by its terms", she said.

America's NATO allies have said they "fully support" America's decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty. "We can not be the only country bound by a treaty".

Kingston Reif, director for disarmament at the Arms Control Association, said on Thursday that the United States had failed to exhaust diplomatic options to save the treaty.

The Europeans are keen to avoid a repeat of a crisis in 1983, when North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies chose to deploy US cruise and Pershing 2 ballistic missiles as negotiations with Moscow faltered over Russia's stationing of SS-20 missiles in Eastern Europe.

"Russia faces a choice: It can either keep its noncompliant missile system or it can have the INF treaty, but it cannot have both", she said.

USA ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters in October that if the 9M729 "became capable of delivering", then the Western military alliance would "be looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America".

However, the second senior administration official downplayed the China impact, saying "This really doesn't have anything to with China".

Russian politicians accused the United States on Friday of undermining global security by ending compliance with a nuclear arms treaty, while NATO said Russia was at fault for the pact's demise and European countries watched with dismay. He further threatened that the accord would be entirely terminated if Russian Federation doesn't fulfil the US' demands regarding the alleged treaty violations.

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