United States gives Russian Federation 60 days to comply with nuclear treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned the United States that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing the type of missiles banned by it, Russia will do the same. "It is now up to Russian Federation to preserve the INF Treaty", the statement says.

The bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles).

Over the past five years, Washington has raised its concerns over the Russian missiles at least 30 times, Pompeo said, only to be met with denials, obfuscation and spurious counter-claims from Moscow.

Russian Federation takes center-stage at NATO Tuesday as allied foreign ministers meet to debate ways to dissuade Moscow from destabilizing Ukraine and encourage it to respect a landmark Cold-war era nuclear treaty.

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"The statements issued today by both Secretary Pompeo and the NATO Foreign Ministers that Russian Federation is in material breach of the INF Treaty are a clear indication that our European allies have joined with us in recognition of how grave the threat from Russian Federation has become", Cheney said in a statement.

Pompeo said the U.S. government had raised the issue at least 30 times since 2013 with Moscow but had faced what he said were denials and counter-actions.

It is alleged that Moscow has violated the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty - a historic pact that kept such deadly missiles out of Europe.

The prospect of USA missiles on European soil is a concern for states including Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, whose representatives have urged Mr Pompeo to continue with diplomacy in fear of a European arms race.

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Noting that Ukraine isn't a member of the alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies already "provide strong political support and strong practical support".

"During this 60 days, we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we'll see what happens during this 60-day period", Pompeo told journalists in Brussels.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Russia strictly complies with the provisions of the treaty, and the American side is aware of that". "We hope that they'll change course, but there's been absolutely no indication that they'll do so".

But it is unclear what more North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would do beyond the sea patrols and air policing it already does in the region.

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Putin said on Wednesday that the USA decision to ditch the INF means Washington has decided the United States "has to have these weapons".

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