22:13 GMT25 July 2021
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - NATO confirms receiving a letter from Russia on the introduction of a moratorium on the deployment of short- and medium-range missiles in Europe, but does not consider this proposal credible because of the Russian SSC-8 cruise missile, spokesperson Oana Lungescu said Wednesday.

    "We can confirm that the NATO Secretary-General has received a letter from the Russian authorities," Lungescu told Sputnik.

    "As regards to a moratorium, we have heard this proposal before, but this is not a credible offer, as it disregards the reality on the ground: Russia has already deployed the SSC-8, in violation of the INF Treaty," she stressed.

    "Unless and until Russia verifiably destroys the SSC-8 system, this moratorium on deployments is not a real offer. We call once again on Russia to behave like a responsible international actor," Lungescu added.

    The SSC-8 (9M729) is a Russian ground-launched cruise missile labelled as “missile of concern” by the United States after being test-launched from a road-mobile launcher in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty while Moscow claims the missile is fully compliant with the treaty.

    Russia's prominent Kommersant newspaper earlier reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to the leaders of a number of countries, including NATO members, with a proposal to introduce a moratorium on the deployment of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in Europe and other regions.

    The message on the subject of the INF Treaty was sent on September 19, NATO diplomat, who arrived at the 74th session of the UN Nations General Assembly, told the media outlet.

    In addition, according to the publication, the Russian leader sent the same messages to a number of non-NATO states, such as China. Also, a similar letter was received by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

    Vladimir Putin, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), Russia, NATO
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