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12:24 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Russia: No Plans to Pull Out of INF Treaty

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Russia has no plans to pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to a European missile defense system, the chief of the General Staff said on Thursday.

Russia has no plans to pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to a European missile defense system, the chief of the General Staff said on Thursday.

“We are not considering yet the issue of withdrawing from the treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles,” Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov said at a missile defense conference in Moscow.

“The treaty has had a serious stabilizing effect on the European continent.”

He also said Russia has no plans to resume the manufacture of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles.

However, Russia is concerned by NATO’s plans for a European missile defense system, including the integration of national missile defense assets, he said.

He said earlier in the day that Russia does not exclude preemptive use of weapons against NATO missile defense systems in Europe, but only as a last resort.

The United States and NATO agreed to develop the system at a summit in Lisbon in 2010, but talks between Russia and the alliance have floundered over NATO’s refusal to grant Russia legal guarantees that the system would not be aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.

Russia’s military and political leadership has already warned its western partners several times that if talks fail, Russia may take a series of measures including deployment of Iskander short-range nuclear-capable tactical ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave.

NATO denies its missile defense proposals are aimed at Russia.