Putin says if United States builds missiles, so will Russian Federation

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NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gesture as they speak before posing for a family photo during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2018. Stoltenberg stressed that Russian Federation still had time to comply but added "we must also start to prepare for a world without the treaty".

NATO and the USA say the 9M279 - also known by the designation SSC-8 - violates the INF treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

It come after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian 'cheating.' Russia has denied that it has been violating the treaty.

"The United States declares today it has found Russian Federation in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance", he said.

She turned to her colleagues on the other side of the aisle and asked for their support. "It is now up to Russian Federation to preserve the INF Treaty", the statement says.

US Cruise and Pershing missiles deployed in Britain and West Germany were removed as a result of the treaty, while the Soviet Union pulled back its SS-20s out of European range.

Otherwise, he said, the U.S. would quit the 1987 accord, considered a milestone in reducing the threat of a nuclear war in Europe.

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Pompeo said Russia's violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty undermine American national security and as such, the USA should not be "constrained" by a treaty that hampers its ability to respond.

"On Nov. 26, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister [Sergei] Ryabkov said that Russia is 'open to any mutually beneficial proposals that take into account the interests and concerns of both parties, '" the ACA said on Tuesday.

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".

The prospect of USA missiles on European soil is a concern for states including Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, whose representatives have urged Mr Pompeo to continue with diplomacy in fear of a European arms race.

While Pompeo did not announce the end of the pact, its demise seems all but certain. "We hope that they'll change course, but there's been absolutely no indication that they'll do so".

Klimkin welcomed the political support he received in Brussels, but said: "We shouldn't just stay on the level of declarations, however strong declarations are".

Putin said on Wednesday that the USA decision to ditch the INF means Washington has decided the United States "has to have these weapons".

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