Russia will respond if USA scraps INF treaty

Peresvet laser system

His comments follow Nato's accusation on Tuesday that Russian Federation has already broken the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

US President Donald Trump has previously said the country would leave the treaty because of Russian actions.

"Allies have concluded that Russian Federation has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security", the Nato foreign ministers' statement read.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would no longer be bound by the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty unless Moscow withdraws a new system that has threatened to trigger an arms race.

"Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that [they] must also have such a weapon", he said.

"In that case we will also do this", he said referring to the missiles.

Pompeo said there was no reason why the U.S. "should continue to cede this crucial military advantage" to rival powers.

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Russian Federation has repeatedly denied breaking the Cold War treaty.

EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini, who met with Lavrov on the sidelines of the 25th OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan, addressed the issue, stating that the INF Treaty must be preserved as it is key to European and global security.

On Monday, the United States leader said he wants talks with Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping "to head off a major and uncontrollable arms race".

"One of the main destructive factors complicating the worldwide situation is how the United States is acting as it attempts to retain its dominant role in the world", he said in comments released by the defence ministry.

In 2014, then US President Barack Obama accused Russian Federation of breaching the INF Treaty after it allegedly tested a ground-launched cruise missile. Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, said the USA was giving Russian Federation 60 days to comply with its terms.

The nuclear-capable Russian cruise missiles are mobile and hard to detect and can hit cities in Europe with little or no warning, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, dramatically changing the security calculus on the continent.

"This was really arms control at its best and therefore it's a really a big setback if this treaty now breaks totally down", he said.

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