NATO planning ‘world without INF Treaty’; More Russian missiles in Europe: Stoltenberg

NATO commanders are considering the various option in the “military domain” in order to counter Russian alleged violation of Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the head of the alliance has said on Tuesday.

According to NBC News reports, during an interview with NBC News, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general, previewed a very aggressive approach to Russia just before of a NATO conference in Brussels going to hold this week. He told NBC News that NATO had discussed various possibilities of American troops draw down in war-torn Afghan country as a part of a peace effort deal with the Taliban.

Stoltenberg, on Russia, said NATO’s “first priority” is to preserve the INF Treaty which the United States has terminated because what it said Russia has deployed some banned missiles. However, he said NATO was also preparing for a new era excluding the Cold War pact.

Stoltenberg said: “We are planning in many different domains, including of course in the military domain. Our military commanders are looking into different options: how we need to respond to the fact that Russia is deploying more nuclear-capable missiles in Europe. But we will take our time before we make decisions.”

He further added saying that “we are planning for a world without the INF Treaty, with more Russian missiles in Europe”. The INF treaty which was signed by Washington and the Soviet Union in 1987 was designed to reduce a threat regarding the nuclear war in Europe.

Stoltenberg called the pact a “cornerstone for European security”, and experts have expressed worries without it, that there could be a various new arms race in Europe.

He said Moscow is “deploying nuclear-capable missiles in Europe with very short warning times and they are also reducing the threshold for any potential use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict”.

However, Russia denied allegation saying that the US missile defence system has deployed in Europe could be further adapted to fit the treaty-violating cruise missiles.

Stoltenberg told reporters that several NATO members did not attend to deploy various nuclear missiles on the continent in order to retaliate for the Russia violation of the pact.

On Wednesday, the defence ministers are set to discuss their further response but Stoltenberg refused to shed light over what that might look alike. He told NBC News, “We don’t want a new arms race but we need to provide credible deterrence and defence in a world without the INF Treaty.”

On Afghanistan issue, he said NATO has “discussed the possibility, of course as part of a peace deal, to reduce the presence of NATO troops” in Afghan. He said, “I think there is more reason now to believe that it’s possible to reach a peace agreement that it has been in the time previously in this very long conflict.”

The secretary-general said “the aim is not to stay in Afghanistan forever” but it was “very dangerous to speculate” over how and when American troop withdrawal might take place.



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