North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief claims alliance preparing defensive measures for 'INF-free world'

Romanian foreign minister Teodor Melescanu

During a gathering of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, Mr Stoltenberg urged Russian Federation to follow the rules of the treaty which, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and the president of the then-USSR Mikhail Gorbachev, banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges.

If Turkey does purchase Russian arms, it could put at risk the types of defenses other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies could have in the country, affect the inter-operability of defense systems and violate security and intelligence among alliance members, Hutchison said. Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that Russian Federation still has a six month window to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty and it should take this opportunity. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies chose to deploy USA cruise and Pershing 2 ballistic missiles in Europe in 1983 as negotiations with Moscow faltered over its stationing of SS-20 missiles in Eastern Europe.

Stoltenberg said the ministers will discuss Wednesday "what steps North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should take to adapt to a world with more Russian missiles".

The INF bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,400 miles). "We all know that a treaty that is only respected by one side can not keep us safe".

Russian Federation insists it has a range of less than 500 kilometers, and claims that USA target-practice missiles and drones also break the treaty.

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The warning came after President Donald Trump said on February 1 he would pull out of the landmark 1987 nuclear disarmament treaty, called the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing years of Russian violations.

"Any steps we take will be coordinated, measured, and defensive".

Speaking at NATO headquarters, where defence ministers are discussing what to do if the imperiled treaty is abandoned, Stoltenberg said: "This is very serious. We will consult at every turn", she said. "Now America is going forward with the treaty protocol to give notice that we need to begin to develop a defense to the violating missiles that Russian Federation has been developing".

Stoltenberg says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has many options but that its response "will be measured and it will be defensive because we don't want a new arms race".

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