United States gives Russian Federation 60 days to comply with nuclear treaty

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday warned Russian Federation that if it did not dismantle its 9M279 mobile ground-launched missile system, Washington would no longer be bound by the treaty.

His comments were echoed by Kremlin Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov who told a briefing for foreign military attaches that Washington was placing the responsibility for violating the INF treaty on Russia's shoulders while the real situation was different.

Putin spoke on December 5, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington would abandon the INF treaty unless Moscow returns to compliance with the accord within 60 days.

"The Trump Administration deserves tremendous credit for working closely with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to deliver a strong, united message that the days of turning a blind eye to Russian violations of worldwide agreements are over".

"It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that constrains our ability to respond to Russia's violation", Pompeo said, adding that: "The United States today declares Russian Federation in material breach of the treaty and we will suspend our obligations unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance".

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She turned to her colleagues on the other side of the aisle and asked for their support. "We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action in response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF Treaty", he said.

He said: "Taking into consideration that official representatives of foreign military agencies are in the hall, I would like to send a message to your leadership that if the INF treaty is violated, we won't leave this unanswered".

"Measures were considered to reinforce the armed forces' combat capacity and means amid the mounting arms race related to the USA plans to quit the INF Treaty", Shoigu told reporters during a conference. A simple one: "then we'll do the same".

Otherwise, he said, the USA would quit the 1987 accord, considered a milestone in reducing the threat of a nuclear war in Europe. Russian Federation says the range of the new system does not exceed 500 kilometers.

NATO foreign ministers said Russian Federation is jeopardizing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by deploying ground-launched missiles that fall within the banned range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) to 5,500 kilometers.

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The bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 310 and 3,410 miles. "At the end of the 60 days, it's going to be a free-for-all".

The ministers called on Russian Federation "to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance".

Klimkin welcomed the political support he received in Brussels, but said: "We shouldn't just stay on the level of declarations, however strong declarations are".

"They are not going to change course on the basis of a US threat to withdraw", Kimball said.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the USA ultimatum was an "escalation of the situation".

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