Kremlin says USA ultimatum on nuclear treaty is a tactical ploy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks during a press conference after a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels

NATO allies say they have concluded that Russian Federation is in violation of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear treaty, paving the way for the United States to leave the pact unless Moscow complies with it.

"Our nations have a choice".

Mr Putin noted that many countries produce missiles banned under the INF treaty, but that Moscow and Washington had undertaken to limit themselves with the accord signed in 1987.

U.S. President Donald Trump previously threatened to pull out of the bilateral pact.

He also insisted that the US had provided "no evidence" that Russian Federation had violated the treaty, despite NATO's determination.

Stoltenberg said the 29 NATO allies will "collectively develop responses" should the treaty be abandoned, but he declined to say what they might be.

In televised comments, the Russian President said Moscow doesn't want to scrap the treaty, but that the U.S. had chose to exit the treaty and was blaming Russia for violations in order for them to serve as a pretext.

Pompeo announced the decision after NATO allies meeting in Brussels supported Washington's contention that Russian Federation violated the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday dismissed United States claims Russian Federation is violating a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms, as a senior general lashed out at Washington's attempts to "contain" Moscow.

Russia lashed out Wednesday in response to Washington's threat to pull out of a key Cold War weapons treaty, with a top general in Moscow saying Russian forces will target European countries hosting American missiles if the USA follows through on the threat.

Trump to meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un in new year
Moon said it's still unclear whether Kim will visit Seoul by the end of this year, and that it's up to the North Korean leader. A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea across the eastern land border on Saturday, the South's military said.

US Cruise and Pershing missiles deployed in Britain and West Germany were removed as a result of the treaty, while the Soviet Union pulled back its SS-20s out of European range.

"The United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force", the ministers said in their joint statement.

The United States remains in compliance with the treaty, according to the Department of State.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said he does not see the Russians returning to compliance under current conditions.

"Instead of complaining all the time about the United States walking away from the treaty, the Europeans should spend a bit of time looking at why the United States is withdrawing from the treaty", he said.

"The INF has guaranteed peace and security in European territory for 30 years now", Mogherini said as she arrived for talks with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers.

"The Russian side has repeatedly declared that this is, to say the least, speculation", Zakharova said of the USA allegation.

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".

The European Union has urged both the United States and Russian Federation to uphold the INF treaty, saying the pact is one of the cornerstones of European security.

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