06:31 GMT27 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The EU should negotiate a deal with Russia that would ban the deployment of any new missiles to Europe averting a new arms race in light of the US planned withdrawal from the INF Treaty, the AfD party member told Sputnik.

    "It would be in the best interest of the European Union and of Germany to negotiate and agree upon a new treaty with Russia banning the deployment of any new missiles in Europe thereby avoiding the beginning of a new arms race," Roland Hartwig, the vice-chairman of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party's parliamentary group in the Bundestag said.

    The politician, however, noted that he was currently unaware of any US plans to deploy such missiles on the continent and therefore saw "no imminent additional threat to Russia originating from Europe as a consequence of the US quitting the INF Treaty."

    According to Hartwig, NATO and Russia should nevertheless make serious efforts to "negotiate and agree upon new treaties including possibly all states with nuclear forces and all modern nuclear weapon systems."

    READ MORE: Russia Suspends INF Deal With US, Putin Directs Ministers Not to Start New Talks

    The official's comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned in his annual address to parliament on Wednesday that Moscow would be forced to provide an adequate response if Washington deployed new missiles to Europe. Putin stressed that Russian weaponry in this case could target not only areas posing a direct threat to Russia but also those areas where decision-making centers that determine and manage how the missile systems are used were located.

    On 2 February, the United States formally suspended its obligations under the 1987 INF Treaty, which bans all ground-launched missiles, conventional or nuclear, with ranges of 310 to 3,400 miles, and triggered the six month withdrawal process. Washington said it would terminate this procedure if Russia agreed to be compliant with the pact. Moscow also suspended its participation in the treaty in response to the US actions. However, Putin stressed that all of Russia's proposals remained on the table.

    READ MORE: 'INF Treaty is More Important Than US-Russia Bilateral Relations' — Scholar

    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.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    suspension, withdrawal, arms race, response, INF Treaty, INF Treaty Withdrawal, NATO, Alternative for Germany (AfD), Bundestag, European Union, Roland Hartwig, Germany, United States, Russia
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