Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that allies have formally agreed that the deployment of Russia’s new ground-launched cruise missile system violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
In 1987, the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signed the INF Treaty to destroy the parties’ 500km and 5,500km range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment.
Following a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg said: “All allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a new ground-launched cruise missile system, the SSC-8, also known as the 9M729.
“Allies agree that this missile system violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security. And they agree that Russia is therefore in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty.”
During the meeting, Nato allies agreed to begin planning for a post-INF Treaty world and have once again called on Russia to comply with the treaty.
Russia’s new missiles are said to be capable of reaching European cities and are mobile and cannot be easily detected.
They also noted that even after repeated talks with Russia about the matter, the country is continuing to engage in manufacturing and fielding of the missiles.
Stoltenberg added: “This is really serious, because, of course, all missiles are dangerous, but these missiles are in particular dangerous because they are hard to detect, they are mobile [and] they are nuclear-capable.”
“We will continue to keep Russia’s military posture and deployments under close review.”
Meanwhile, Russia President Vladimir Putin warned that if the US exits the treaty it will develop missiles banned under a Cold War agreement, reported media sources.