NATO urges Russia to respond to US missile concerns

NATO on Friday urged Russia to respond to US concerns about a cruise missile system Washington says is in breach of a landmark Cold War nuclear arms reduction treaty.

The US says Russia has developed, tested and deployed an intermediate-range missile system that breaks its commitments under a 1987 treaty between Washington and the Soviet Union.

"Allies have identified a Russian missile system that raises serious concerns," NATO said in a statement.

"NATO urges Russia to address these concerns in a substantial and transparent way, and actively engage in a technical dialogue with the United States.

The alliance said the US was "in compliance" with its obligations under the treaty.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev abolished a whole class of missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

It put an end to a mini-arms race triggered by the Soviet Union's deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles targeting Western European capitals.

Moscow has repeatedly denied claims that its recent deployment of a land-based missile system breaks the treaty.

The 29 NATO states said the INF treaty had "contributed to strategic stability and reduced the risk of miscalculation leading to conflict", and it was important to maintain it.

In February the New York Times said Russia had deployed SSC-8 missiles to the southern region of Volgograd and to another unidentified location.

US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison called Russia's actions "dangerous and destabilising" and said that despite four years of efforts, "Russian officials have refused to engage constructively with the United States".

Last week the US State Department said it was reviewing "military concepts and options, including options for conventional, ground-launched, intermediate-range missile systems" in response to the Russian actions.

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NATO urges Russia to respond to US missile concerns NATO urges Russia to respond to US missile concerns Reviewed by Defense Alert on 17:13:00 Rating: 5

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