Nato and Russian Federation trade barbs after collapse of nuclear arms treaty

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The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) was signed by former President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

On Friday, Russia has announced the termination of a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with the US, while the move came hours after the USA formally withdrew from the INF treaty raising fears over the start of a potential arms race. "Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system", he said.

NATO allies said in a statement that Russian Federation remains in violation of the INF Treaty, "despite years of USA and Allied engagement", adding that they fully support the United States decision to withdraw. Washington signalled its intention six months ago to pull out of the agreement if Russian Federation made no move to adhere to it.

This undated file photo provided September 19, 2017, by Russian Defense Ministry official web site shows a Russian Iskander-K missile launched during a military exercise at a training ground at the Luzhsky Range, near St. Petersburg, Russia.

Now, the U.S.is free to test missiles it was previously banned from testing under the INF treaty.

New START will lapse in early 2021 unless the US and Russian presidents decide to extend it.

"We are urging the United States to abandon [plans] to deploy the missiles of these ranges it is creating, which is unfortunately now being discussed by the Pentagon, and follow Russia's example, taking all the necessary steps to ensure global stability and predictability", the ministry said in a statement.

In a statement on Friday, the State Department said the withdrawal was "due to the Russian Federation's continuing violation of the treaty".

"Europe must not become the scene of a new arms race", Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said.

The current Pentagon budget includes $48 million for research on potential military responses to the Russian violations of the INF treaty, but the options do not include a nuclear missile. It bans the development and deployment of ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

New START imposes limits on the number of United States and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.

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"So it should not surprise them [China] that we would want to have a like capability", he added.

Dominic Raab, the United Kingdom foreign secretary, tweeted: "Russia has caused the INF treaty to collapse by secretly developing and deploying a treaty-violating missile system which can target Europe's capitals".

"I think we'll have some announcements coming out soon in the coming days, where you'll see countries begin to sign up", Esper said, referring to contributions from other countries on the maritime initiative.

"We have been speaking to Russian Federation about that, for a pact for nuclear [weapons] so that they get rid of some, we get rid of some, we would probably have to put China in there", Trump said. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would look into air and missile defense, better intelligence, exercises and other conventional options, and new initiatives on arms control, he said.

Esper said the US should look at bringing in other nuclear powers and expand the types of weapons controlled by the treaty.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday said the Pentagon would deploy ground-based intermediate-range conventional missiles in Asia a day after the White House withdrew from a key Cold War-era treaty. More than 2,600 missiles were destroyed by 1991.

On Thursday, Trump said he was open to negotiations.

Now the USA says Russian Federation didn't stick to its side of the bargain, and instead built missiles banned under the agreement.

The Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said it had handed in a letter to Downing Street asking Boris Johnson "to guarantee that it will refuse to host intermediate range missiles if it is asked to do so by the USA administration".

He also called on China and India to be included in a new worldwide treaty.

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