NATO continues to maintain ‘credible deterrence’ against Russia: Secretary-General Stoltenberg

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Aspen [United States], July 18: NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has said on Wednesday NATO would continue to remain deterrence against Russia, calling on the government of President Vladimir Putin to come back into its compliance with the 2015 landmark international nuclear treaty.

Stoltenberg made these remarks during an opening ceremony of the annual Aspen Security Forum, just weeks ahead of an August 2 deadline which America has offered to Moscow to adhere obligations to the nuclear pact, according to Al-Jazeera news reports.

Early in February, the United States President Donald Trump has suspended its obligations towards the INF pact after Russia was unable to comply with accord until 60 days threat. The treaty was aimed at curbing the nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR and has been signed by ex-US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader, in 1987.

Washington has said Russia breached the international nuclear accord as it believed Moscow deployed a new missile system. Though, Russia denied breaching the accord and US accusation and further gave notice.

Russian Putin has on March 5 signed an order halting Moscow’s compliances with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the immediate effect and suspends the implementation of the pact between the Soviet Union and the United States of America.

Stoltenberg stated Moscow still had time left to secure what he described the “cornerstone of arms control in Europe”, further adding NATO had reiterated its call upon Putin-led Russian government to come back to its commitments under the INF accord.

However, he noted there were no indications that Russia was trying to make efforts in doing so in that direction.

In a reference to the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missiles, the NATO head said, “Now Russia has started deploying these missiles again,” adding, “They are mobile, hard to detect, can reach all European cities within minutes reducing the warning time.”

He said if Moscow doesn’t move back to its compliances under the pact by the Trump administration’s deadline, NATO will equally respond in a “measured and coordinated” way, excluding bilateral actions.

Stoltenberg added 29-member NATO would not attempt to deploy any defence missile system but, could bolster its integrated air and missile systems that are already in place in the European region.

While referring to US withdrawal of Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programme soon after the first arrival of the Russian S-400 air defence missile system in Ankara under a deal which the US president condemned, he said, “I’m concerned about the consequences of the Turkish decision because it means Turkey will not be part of the F-35 programme. That’s not good, it’s bad for all of us.”

But, he said Turkey’s ties with NATO “runs much deeper and is much broader” that F-35 programme, calling it a key ally in the combat against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS, ISIL) terror organization.

 

Also read: Russian President Putin signs order to suspend implementation of INF Treaty with United States

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