WASHINGTON DC, The United States – The Atlantic Alliance will take the necessary steps if Russia does not return to the INF Treaty by the end of the deadline, said the bloc’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg.
It is worth noting that NATO had established an ultimatum of 60 days in December regarding this matter.
“Russia now has a last chance. If Russia does not come back into compliance, well, then we have a big problem because then the INF Treaty is breaking down,” Stoltenberg told Germany’s dpa news agency.
The Secretary-General believes that in order to restore strategic balance, NATO has many ways to respond to the cessation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). However, he refused to specify the details so as not to aggravate the situation.
In addition, the chief of the bloc avoided responding whether NATO could control the deployment of US nuclear missiles in Europe under bilateral agreements. Stoltenberg said he welcomed the decision of the Alliance of Foreign Ministers, who in December agreed on the need to resolve this within the organization.
At the same time, he indicated that the new Russian 9M729 or SSC-8 missiles are already installed in Europe and that they are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that violates the INF Treaty.
US accusations of alleged violations of the INF Treaty by Russia are unfounded, as the 9M729 missile does not violate the postulates of the agreement, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The US is accusing Russia of building missiles banned by the INF Treaty, while Moscow says US missile defense systems already installed in Eastern Europe can easily be converted into offensive ballistic missile launchers.
In October, the US announced they would withdraw from the treaty unless Russia suspended the alleged violations and in December gave Russia a 60-day deadline to comply with the agreement. According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Moscow was immediately informed that the decision was final and not an attempt to start the dialogue.
Russia has warned that it has to respond if American missiles are stationed in Europe, making them targets.