NATO wants Russian Federation to address suspected missile treaty breach

NATO wants Russian Federation to address suspected missile treaty breach

Getting them to withdraw would be our choice, of course.

"Counter measures (by the US) would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russian Federation in violation of the treaty", she added. "They are on notice".

She later clarified that she was not suggesting the USA would launch pre-emptive strikes on Russian Federation, but underlining the need for the allies to find ways to counter any escalation.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, agreed to by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, banned either nation from owning "ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment".

Prior to Hutchison's tweet, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded forcefully, saying Hutchison behaved "aggressively and destructively" by making the comments.

Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said "Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile", adding that the INF is a "crucial element" of transatlantic security which is now "in danger because of Russia's actions".

But her remarks prompted a Russian outcry on "the danger of aggressive rhetoric", as well as further Nato and United States complaints on Russia's violation of an arms treaty.

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US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison didn't miss an opportunity to fire a warning shot in the direction of Russian Federation when accusing it of building new nuclear missiles that would allegedly be pointed at Europe.

Now, the Americans insist, despite Russian denials, that Moscow has a new medium-range missile in its inventory - the Novator 9M729 - known to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as the SSC-8. "We try not to do anything that will violate the Treaty, which allows the study, but not to develop a missile program, and we carefully comply with the requirements of the contract, while Russian Federation violates it", said Hutchison.

"According to the USA, they (Russia) have started to deploy that missile". The Pentagon is also looking at technologies that could be put in place to try to shoot missiles down if they are heading toward specific targets - an effort that Hutchison might have been referencing in her remarks. The treaty bans nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missiles that could hit Europe or USA territory such as Alaska.

The US threatened to counter-measures against Russian missile development sites over what it considers production of banned nuclear-capable missiles.

The Western allies have stepped up their military posture, with rotating garrisons in eastern Europe and the Baltic States, in the four years since Russian Federation annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea. They have also lodged nebulous complaints that US missile defense systems deployed in Europe violate the treaty, either because they would allow missiles to be launched against Russian Federation from Europe without fear of retaliation or because the anti-missile defense launchers could be repurposed to launch medium-range attack missiles.

"The great achievement of 1987 (the INF treaty) abolished all intermediate-range missiles".

Moscow, in turn, accuses the U.S. and "some of its allies" of knowingly violating the INF by deploying Mk-41 launching systems close to Russian borders.

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