Russia threatens to make banned missiles if U.S. leaves arms treaty

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the INF ultimatum during a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

"The United States declares today it has found Russian Federation in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance", he said.

Accusing Russia of "cheating at its arms control obligations", Pompeo said a six-month notice period for leaving the treaty would start in 60 days.

The Kinzhal has an operating range of over 2,000km and can reach speeds of 7,670 miles per hour, making it "invulnerable to the air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems existing today", Russian news agency TASS reported. Russia's response, according to Putin, will be: "We will do the same".

Russia lashed out Wednesday in response to Washington's threat to pull out of a key Cold War weapons treaty, with a top general in Moscow saying Russian forces will target European countries hosting American missiles if the US follows through on the threat.

Trump's chief diplomat Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters for a ministerial meeting on Tuesday and won support for a tough stance from the allies.

In televised comments, the Russian President said Moscow doesn't want to scrap the treaty, but that the United States had chose to exit the treaty and was blaming Russia for violations in order for them to serve as a pretext.

He also insisted that the US had provided "no evidence" that Russian Federation had violated the treaty, despite NATO's determination.

Russia's upper house Defence and Security Committee Chairman Viktor Bondarev told Sputnik on Tuesday that the United States and Russian Federation must hold talks on the INF Treaty in order to adapt the accord to the current situation.

The information included details on the missile's test history and the names of companies involved in developing and producing the missile and its launcher, the State Department said.

Moscow refused to acknowledge the existence of the missile system for four years.

The Russian President said the Kremlin will respond in kind if America walks out of a key Cold War-era arms treaty.

He said he had raised the issue at least 30 times with Moscow since 2013, but had been met with denials and counter-actions.

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But it was a bilateral treaty between the USA and the then Soviet Union, so it puts no restrictions on other major military actors like China.

House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith said the move shows the Trump administration is more focused on withdrawing from global commitments than on the collective security of the United States, its allies, and partners.

"We call on Russian Federation to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance".

"It is now up to Russian Federation to avert the end of the treaty", Demmer said. "A simple one - we will also do it".

Russia's foreign ministry said it has received word of US withdrawal from the arms treaty.

"It means NATO's expansion towards our borders".

If Russia is serious about preserving the treaty, the release added, it should discuss USA concerns over the 9M729 missile system.

"They can not be intercepted by any present anti-missile defences".

"No European state has contradicted the American position".

Under the arms control treaty, signed in 1972 by the former U.S. president Richard Nixon Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev, the number of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) complexes were limited.

Mr. Pompeo's announcement Tuesday marked an escalation of US threats to abandon the INF in response to Russian cheating and, on Wednesday, Mr. Gerasimov emphasized Moscow's frustration at the move.

The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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