16:11 GMT08 March 2021
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    Mere weeks after the US formally left the landmark INF Treaty with Russia in early August, the Pentagon claimed success in testing a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of over 500 km, something which would have violated the now-dead agreement, prompting suspicions that Washington was preparing to ditch the deal in advance.

    The Russian Defence Ministry has announced that Moscow hopes to hear assurances from Western states about the unacceptability of the US deploying intermediate- and short-range missiles.

    "Russia has not tested and is not armed, unlike the United States, with intermediate- and short-range missiles", the ministry said.

    It said that Russia hopes to hear assurances from Western countries about the unacceptability of deployment by the United States of its intermediate- and short-range missiles on their territories.

    Prior to this, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Euronews that Russia, under the circumstances of the INF Treaty being terminated, is deploying nuclear capable missiles in Europe.

    The statement comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed that Russia would not deploy missiles anywhere unless US missiles are there during talks with the French foreign and defence ministers in a 2+2 format.

    On 3 August, a day after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was officially terminated at Washington's initiative, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said that he wanted to deploy medium-range conventional missiles in the Asia-Pacific as soon as possible.

    The United States withdrew from the INF Treaty on 2 August after formally suspending its INF obligations six months earlier. Moscow suspended its own participation in the pact in July. Both countries have repeatedly accused one another of violating the 1987 treaty.

    The INF Treaty, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, required the countries to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,417 miles).

    missiles, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), US, Russia
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