Posted on Aug 04, 2019
Nato says Russia today remains in violation of the INF Treaty, despite years of U.S. and Allied engagement, including a final opportunity over six months to honour its Treaty obligations.
As a result, the United States decision to withdraw from the Treaty, a decision fully supported by NATO Allies, took effect on Friday.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, at press conference in Brussels on Friday, said, "Russia bears sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty. We regret that Russia has shown no willingness and taken no demonstrable steps to return to compliance with its international obligations. A situation whereby the United States fully abides by the Treaty, and Russia does not, is not sustainable.
"NATO will respond in a measured and responsible way to the significant risks posed by the Russian 9M729 missile to Allied security. We have agreed a balanced, coordinated and defensive package of measures to ensure NATO's deterrence and defence posture remains credible and effective."
He added, "Allies are firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Therefore, we will continue to uphold, support, and further strengthen arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation, as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security, taking into account the prevailing security environment. NATO also continues to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia's actions make that possible."
Stoltenberg explained that the INF Treaty had come to an end due to Russia's deployment of the SSC-8 missile system, which is nuclear-capable, mobile, hard to detect, and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. He stressed that "all NATO Allies agree that these missiles violate the INF Treaty", and that Russia continues to develop and field the systems, despite years of engagement by the US and other Allies.
"We regret that Russia showed no willingness and took no steps to comply with its international obligations," he said, adding that all Allies support the US' decision to withdraw, as "no international agreement is effective if it is only respected by one side. Russia bears the sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty".
The Secretary General said that NATO will now work on issues such as exercises, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air and missile defences, and conventional capabilities, while also ensuring that NATO's nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.
He stressed that "we will not rush implementation or make any rash moves; we will consider our options carefully," adding that "everything we do will be balanced, coordinated and defensive."
He further noted that Allies remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. He concluded: "We will not mirror what Russia does, we do not want a new arms race, and we have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. NATO continues to aspire for a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make that possible."
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