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1; Secretary Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Russia of breaking a nuclear war pact during the Cold War within the next 60 days, unless Russia comes back to compliance.
“We either bury our head in the sand, or we take common sense according to Russia’s flagrant violation of the explicit terms of the INF Convention,” Pompeo said at a press conference at the NATO headquarters.
The Nuclear Safety Treaty was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Pompeo accused Russia of cheating on the weapons control agreement to a long list of alleged Russian violations around the world, including Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, as well as meltdown, and the attempt to kill the former spy Sergei Skripal with a nerve in The United Kingdom and the latest event with Russian warships shooting to Ukrainian shipping in the Kerch stretch.
The move gives us a step closer to following the threat of withdrawing from the Cold War Agreement, which prevents the US and Russia from having any land-based cruise missiles that can hit 500-5,500 miles – 310 to 3,410 miles – interval. The deal was primarily aimed at maintaining ground-based nuclear weapons out of Europe.
Foreign Ministers from NATO countries issue their full support from the American findings. The first time all 29 member states found Russia in a “major violation” of the control of violence.
“We urge Russia to return quickly to complete and verifiable compliance,” read the statement from NATO after Tuesday’s meeting. “It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.”
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60-day deadline was given at the request of European Members to allow Russia’s time to come back to compliance. Pompeo said that the US would welcome Russia’s return.
“We have talked a lot with the Russians,” said Pompeo, quoting at least 30 discussions over five years. “We hope they will change, but it has not been proven that they have no intention of doing so.”
Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, told the Russian State Agency TASS in reply to the announcement that “Russia carefully complies with the provisions of the Treaty, and the US side knows this.”
On Saturday, US Defense Minister Jim Mattis accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “duplication of the INF Treaty”.  The White House National Security Officer said in 2017 that Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of the Treaty. Earlier, the Obama administration accused the Russians of breaking the covenant by developing and testing a prohibited cruise missile. Russia has repeatedly denied that it has violated the Treaty.
Pompeo said Tuesday that Russia has tested the SSC-8 cruise missile since the mid-2000s and has tested it in intervals exceeding the terms of the INF Treaty. Pompeo said that Russia’s response has been consistent: deny any errors, demand more information and issue groundless opposition, “Pompeo said. He said that Russia continued to push forward and has filled several battalions of the SSC-8 missiles.
“If Russia acknowledges its violations and completely and verifiable comes back to compliance, we will of course welcome this action,” said Pompeo. “But Russia and Russia can only take this step.”
Russia’s failure to come back to compliance would trigger a six-month notice period for the US’s intention to withdraw under which the United States would abolish its own obligations under the INF Treaty.
“The 60-day delay in the notification of the formal US withdrawal from the INF Treaty gives some time and will be of little value unless the NATO governments, together with Russia and the United States, try to negotiate a solution” Daryl Kimball, CEO of the Gun Control Association, warned.
“Failure to do so risks the start of a new missile in Europe that will undermine European security and it will make the extension of the 2010 START Agreement between Washington and Moscow, the more important, said Kimball.