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U.S. suspends compliance on weapons treaty with Russia, may withdraw in 6 months

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said that the U.S. will suspend compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia on Saturday.

Pompeo said the country would formally withdraw in six months if Moscow does not end its alleged violation of the pact.

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The U.S. would reconsider its withdrawal if Russia, which denies violating the arms control pact, came into compliance with the treaty, which bans either side from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.

“Russia has refused to take any steps to return to real and verifiable compliance,” Pompeo said.

“We will provide Russia and the other treaty parties with formal notice that the U.S. is withdrawing from the INF treaty, effective in six months.”

The U.S. alleges a new Russian cruise missile violates the pact. The missile, the Novator 9M729, is known as the SSC-8 by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Russia says the missile’s range puts it outside the treaty, and has accused the U.S. of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty that it wants to leave anyway so it can develop new missiles.

Russia also has rejected a U.S. demand to destroy the new missile. (NAN)