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NATO to Respond if Russia Doesn't Fulfill Duties Under INF Treaty - Stoltenberg

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is holding a press-conference. - Sputnik International
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On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the bloc was getting prepared for a potential cessation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but it didn't want a new arms race and did not plan to deploy new ground-based missiles in Europe.

NATO will have to adopt retaliatory measures if Russia fails to comply with the INF agreement in six months, bloc Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday at a press conference in Brussels during the first day of the meeting between the defence ministers of NATO member states.

The event comes after earlier in February, the United States said it was suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty starting from 2 February and would begin the withdrawal process, which would be completed within six months unless Moscow remedied its alleged violations of the bilateral arms control deal.

READ MORE: NATO Preparing Measures if INF Treaty Terminated — Stoltenberg

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Russian President Vladimir Putin later announced that Moscow was also suspending its obligations under the treaty in response to the US move.

The INF Treaty, which was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 and banned all ground-launched missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,400 miles (500 to 5,500 kilometers), has recently become another contentious point in the relationship between the United States and Russia.

The United States has been claiming that the range of Russia's 9M729 missile violates the treaty's limits, but Moscow has denied the allegations, stressing that they were unsubstantiated. Russia, in turn, has complained that US defense systems in Europe were equipped with launchers capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges prohibited under the INF Treaty.

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