BRUSSELS – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance should prepare for a world without the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces known as the INF Treaty and with “more Russian missiles” .
According to the alliance leader, Moscow would not have given any indication of a possible change of position in relation to this international treaty, responsible for imposing limits on the nuclear weapons stored by Russia and the United States since the end of the Cold War. Although the US was the first to suspend the partnership, the West blames the Kremlin for ending INF.
Mr Stoltenberg pledged a “measured, defensive” response if Russia did not come back into compliance with the deal by the 2 August deadline.
“We have to be prepared for a world… with more Russian missiles,” he said.
In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, Mr Stoltenberg says the Russian missiles – which he says are in “clear violation of the treaty” – are nuclear capable, mobile, very hard to detect, and able to reach European cities within a few minutes.
“This is serious. The INF treaty has been a corner stone in arms control for decades and now we see the demise of the treaty,” he said.
While the priority was to get Russia to come back into compliance with its terms, Mr Stoltenberg said there were “no signs whatsoever” the country will do so. “Therefore we have to be prepared for a world without the INF treaty and with more Russian missiles.”
Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Soviet-era treaty banning ground-based nuclear missiles with a range of 500 to 5,000 kilometers claiming that the 9M729 Russian missile had violated the terms of the INF. Moscow, however, says that 9M729 has a maximum range of 480 kilometers and denies that it violated the terms of the agreement, suspended months afterwards also by Russian President Vladimir Putin.