01:37 GMT25 November 2020
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    Earlier, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged the US "not to recklessly abandon" the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a landmark arms control treaty aimed primarily at reducing the risk of nuclear war in Europe.

    The United States has provided its European allies with intelligence regarding Russia's alleged violations of the INF Treaty, and the German government has found this evidence Spiegel Magazine reports.

    According to Spiegel, following a BND (German intelligence) analysis of the information provided by the US, the federal government "assesses the evidence as convincing" that Russia is violating the treaty.

    Furthermore, Spiegel noted, Berlin has agreed to a joint statement of NATO foreign ministers on the alleged Russian treaty violations. According to the magazine, ministers will release the joint statement at their upcoming meeting on December 4.

    The US intelligence was said to include trajectory data on Russia's RK-55 (NATO codename SSC-8 'Screwdriver') land-based cruise missile, as well as information about Russian defence companies allegedly involved in the design and production of missiles and launchers prohibited under the treaty.

    German officials have yet to comment on the veracity of the Spiegel report.

    German officials have been among the main critics of President Donald Trump's plans to withdraw from the INF. Last month, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed that the INF had served as "an important pillar of our European security architecture" for over thirty years, and that while Germany has appealed to Russia over its alleged violations, it would also "urge the US to consider the possible consequences" of withdrawing from the treaty.

    Last week, Maas reiterated his concerns, urging the US "not to recklessly abandon the INF Treaty," and saying that Germany does not want to see Europe "become a platform for debates about nuclear arms."

    The INF Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, and prohibited either country from possessing, producing or testing ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 km. The treaty was aimed primarily at reducing the threat nuclear war in Europe, specifically due to the short flight time of nuclear missiles launched from European countries, which it was feared might push some military planners to propose first strike decapitation attacks against the other side.

    Moscow has called the US plans to withdraw from the INF very dangerous, saying it might draw "entire regions of the world into an arms race." Russian officials have said repeatedly that they were prepared to clarify any possible problems the US had with the treaty. Moscow has also said that US claims against Russia were based on "direct and obvious violations of the INF" by Washington itself. This, Moscow said, included the revent US deployment of dual-use missile defense shield components in Romania and Poland, which could theoretically be armed with ground-based nuclear-armed cruise missiles banned under the INF.


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    compliance, nuclear weapons, reports, INF Treaty, Europe, Germany, Russia, US
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