North Atlantic Treaty Organisation accuses Russian Federation of breaking INF; Pompeo threatens withdrawal

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If Russia does not comply within the 60-day deadline, the United States will begin the six-month process of formally withdrawing from the INF treaty.

"We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russian Federation is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty", the statement said.

A state department spokesperson said: "The United States announced a suspension of its obligations, effective 60 days after December 4, unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance, as a remedy under customary worldwide law for Russia's material breach". "We hope that they'll change course, but there's been absolutely no indication that they'll do so".

The US President wants out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which he believes has been regularly broken by the Kremlin and also rendered irrelevant by China's nuclear weapons programme.

Washington alleges Russia's new SSC8 missile system contravenes the Cold War-era treaty, which bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (310-3,410 miles).

The planned US withdrawal has created the kind of trans-Atlantic rift that followed Trump's abandonment of landmark global agreements to curb Iran's nuclear program and to fight climate change. Russian Federation says the range of the new system does not exceed 500 kilometers.

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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".

Russian Federation annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, sparking NATO's biggest military buildup in Eastern Europe since the Cold War.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said it was now "up to Russia" to save the deal, seen by many as an important part of the global arms control architecture, and alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said it was time to prepare for its demise. Three NATO allies on the Black Sea Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey are also taking individual measures. Pompeo said Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium.

"We need to create a coordinated response to the actions of Russia", Klimkin said, adding that he raised "a set of practical steps with a number of proposals" at the meeting as to how NATO, Ukraine and Georgia might do that together.

But Pompeo did give other reasons for US withdrawal, including the fact that China is not a party to the treaty and is beefing up its military capabilities.

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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