23:25 GMT18 May 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Washington's withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) may trigger an arms race both in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

    "US' withdrawal from the INF jeopardizes the system of global strategic stability and may trigger a new arms race, remarkably not only in the European region, but in the Asia-Pacific region as well," Shoigu said at a forum with Belarusian military.

    The US military has repeatedly stressed that it could deploy INF-banned missiles to Asia.

    Unilateral steps in violation of international law are becoming common practice in international relations, the minister added with regret.

    The United States withdrew from the INF on 2 August, citing alleged Russian violations as an excuse, and the deal, which was signed by the US and the Soviet Union in 1987 and banned any ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,417 miles), was therefore terminated.

    Asia-Pacific region, Europe, defence, arms race, INF, US, Russia
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