Putin warns USA on leaving arms treaty

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Over the past five years, the United States has raised its concerns over the SSC-8 at least 30 times with Russian Federation "to the highest levels of leadership", Pompeo said, only to be met with denials, obfuscation and spurious counter-claims.

In Moscow on Wednesday, Putin told journalists the U.S. had provided "no evidence" of Russian violations, and threatened an arms race if the USA sought to develop new medium-range missiles after exiting the treaty. "We are against the destruction of this treaty".

"We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russian Federation is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty", the statement said.

US Cruise and Pershing missiles deployed in Britain and West Germany were removed as a result of the treaty, while the Soviet Union pulled back its SS-20s out of European range.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Russia strictly complies with the provisions of the treaty, and the American side is aware of that".

In turn, NATO foreign ministers agreed to formally declare Russian Federation in "material breach" of the INF treaty in a statement in support of the US. "We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action in response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF Treaty", he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned the United States that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing the type of missiles banned by it, Russia will do the same.

"The Russian side has repeatedly declared that this is, to say the least, speculation", Zakharova said of the USA allegation.

Stoltenberg said that although Russian Federation has a last chance to comply, "we must also start to prepare for a world without the treaty", which was the first to abolish a whole category of weapons.

Klimkin welcomed the political support he received in Brussels, but said: "We shouldn't just stay on the level of declarations, however strong declarations are". Ministers also backed calls for the House to have a direct say in what happens if her deal is rejected next week.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that although Moscow has a last chance to comply with the INF, "we must also start to prepare for a world without the treaty". "We hope that they'll change course, but there's been absolutely no indication that they'll do so".

The 29-nation alliance, which the USA dominates, said the Kremlin needs to show compliance "urgently".

In comments on December 5, Peskov accused Washington of "manipulating the facts.to camouflage the true aim of the United States in withdrawing from the treaty".

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