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    US Missiles in UK May Irritate Russia, But Have No Military Value

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    Moscow and Washington should hold talks to address their mutual accusations of violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the executive director of the Arms Control Association told Sputnik on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — In a statement on Thursday, Russia's Foreign Ministry called on the United States to ensure its adherence to the treaty and warned against endangering the 1987 agreement, which bans the testing and deployment of certain types of nuclear and conventional missiles.

    The Russian statement came after the US State Department claimed that Russia had breached the treaty and failed to correct previously identified violations, though it did not provide any details. Russia denied the allegation, saying that Washington needed to provide evidence to support the claims.

    "It is in the interest of both governments to engage in serious technical talks on on-site inspections to resolve concerns about potential future violations of the treaty," Daryl Kimball told Sputnik.

    Earlier in June, US Congress discussed potential responses to Russia’s presumed non-compliance with the bilateral treaty. One proposal by the Pentagon reportedly is to deploy US nuclear missiles in Europe.

    Last week, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in an interview with the BBC that the United Kingdom would consider hosting US intermediate missiles.

    "Despite recent press reports, the United States has no plans to redeploy nuclear-armed, ground-launched missiles in Europe to counter Russia," Kimball told Sputnik.

    He said that deploying more US missiles in Europe would have no military value and "would likely give Russia an excuse to pull out of the INF Treaty."

    Kimball also called on Moscow and Washington to engage in comprehensive nuclear risk reduction talks to decrease "the excessive strategic and tactical nuclear stockpiles of each country."

    He estimates that the United States currently has some 850 launch-ready nuclear weapons, most of which could hit targets in Russia or China within 30 minutes of a launch order being made. Russia maintains a roughly similar number of strategic nuclear weapons on a similar prompt launch status, he added.

    "The use of even a tiny fraction of these weapons would lead to catastrophic destruction, affecting each country and well beyond their national borders," Kimball said.

    The INF Treaty was signed between the United States and the Soviet Union to ban the testing and deployment of nuclear and conventional ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310-3,400 miles).

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the month that Moscow has no intention of breaking the INF Treaty.

    Related:

    US Weighs ‘Counterforce Options’ to Alleged Russian INF Treaty Violations
    Engagement Required to Resolve US-Russian Mutual Charges of INF Violations
    US Deployment of Missiles in Europe May Lead to Russia’s Exit From INF
    Tags:
    security, missile defense, INF treaty, Europe, Russia, Britain, United States
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