Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief says allies keen to avoid arms race with Russian Federation

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief says allies keen to avoid arms race with Russian Federation

"At this meeting of defense ministers, we will discuss what steps North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should take to adapt to a world with more Russian missiles", Stoltenberg asserted.

Stoltenberg called on Russian Federation to return to compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which the alliance insists Russian Federation violated by developing a new missile system Moscow calls Novator 9M729.

The two-day meeting in Brussels is the first chance for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministers to debate what steps the alliance will take to bolster its defence against new Russian medium-range missiles.

2 launched the six-month process of leaving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty it signed with the Soviet Union in 1987, insisting that a new Russian missile system violates the pact.

The INF, which ended a buildup of warheads in Europe, bans the production and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers.

If Turkey does purchase Russian arms, it could put at risk the types of defenses other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies could have in the country, affect the inter-operability of defense systems and violate security and intelligence among alliance members, Hutchison said.

But Stoltenberg said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation had no intention of deploying "new nuclear land-based weapons systems in Europe".

Stoltenberg said the new Russian missiles were just the latest example of Moscow's increasingly assertive posture. Russian Federation contends the ground-fired cruise missile has a range of less than 500 kilometers, and that USA target practice missiles and drones violate the pact.

Moscow denies the missile breaches the terms of the INF treaty and has made various counter-allegations against the US.

The warning came after President Donald Trump said on February 1 he would pull out of the landmark 1987 nuclear disarmament treaty, called the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing years of Russian violations.

"Our allies want to know what the future will be, and the future will be that we will start the development of a defensive mechanism and we will keep our allies informed all along the way".

"Any steps we take will be co-ordinated, measured and defensive, and we do not intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe", Mr Stoltenberg said in Brussels ahead of a meeting of alliance defence ministers.

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