US gives Russia 60 days to comply with nuclear treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow Russia

Trump's chief diplomat Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters for a ministerial meeting on Tuesday and won support for a tough stance from the allies.

"We call on Russian Federation to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance".

NATO formally accused Russia on Tuesday of breaching the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which rid Europe of land-based nuclear missiles, issuing a statement that supported US accusations of Russian violations.

NATO allies say they have concluded that Russian Federation is in violation of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear treaty, paving the way for the United States to leave the pact unless Moscow complies with it.

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.

DW's correspondent at NATO Teri Schultz said the United States had allowed the 60-day concession in response to European concerns over an immediate withdrawal and followed direct intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Pompeo, who attended the meeting, said the United States would withdrawn from the INF Treaty in 60 days unless Russian Federation complies with the agreement. Tests and deployments of new missiles were on hold, he said.

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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".

Stoltenberg said the 29 NATO allies will "collectively develop responses" should the treaty be abandoned, but he declined to say what they might be.

Pompeo's statement announcing the policy on Tuesday came alongside a statement from NATO foreign ministers formally announcing that Russian Federation was in violation of the INF treaty by developing new ground-based missile systems. "We're hopeful they'll change course, but there's been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so".

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Russia strictly complies with the provisions of the treaty, and the American side is aware of that". "Now Russia is attempting to use Crimea to expand its influence and control of the Sea of Azov", Stoltenberg said.

"Russia scrupulously abides by the provisions of the treaty, and the US side knows this", she said.

The former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and former U.S. secretary state, George Shultz, who helped negotiate the terms of the INF treaty at the 1986 Reykjavik summit between Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, warned of the dire consequences of ditching the treaty.

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