North Atlantic Treaty Organisation won't station more nuclear missiles in Europe despite threat from Russian Federation

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Russian Federation denies violating the 1987 treaty and says it is pulling out, too. "And we do not intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief stated. 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.

As Stoltenberg said, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers will discuss Russia's deployment of "several battalions of the SSC-8 [9M729] missile". "That is why the United States, with the full support of all NATO allies, has announced its intention to withdraw from the Treaty", the NATO chief claimed.

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.

Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, centre, arrives for a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.

The collapse of the 1987 treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, has sparked fears of a new arms race in Europe. "Now America is going forward with the treaty protocol to give notice that we need to begin to develop a defense to the violating missiles that Russian Federation has been developing".

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While Washington and Moscow are at odds over the INF, the treaty does nothing to constrain China, whose fast-growing military depends on medium-range missiles as a key aspect of its defense strategy.

Stoltenberg says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has many options but that its response "will be measured and it will be defensive because we don't want a new arms race".

"Our government is firmly in the camp of looking for an opportunity to have an arms control agreement that would include all the countries that have these intermediate ballistic missiles", U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said during a Tuesday call with reporters.

"They have announced a lot of new nuclear weapons systems and they have used force against a neighbour in Ukraine".

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