Russia lashes out, threatens to target U.S. allies if Trump kills arms treaty

Russia lashed out Wednesday in response to Washington’s threat to pull out of a key Cold War weapons treaty, with a top general in Moscow saying Russian forces will target European countries hosting American missiles if the U.S. follows through on the threat.

“The target for Russian retaliation won’t be U.S. territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed,” Russian General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov said, a day after the Trump administration said it is preparing to withdraw from the 30-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement at NATO headquarters in Belgium Tuesday, claiming Russia is already flagrantly violating the INF and asserting that Washington will “remedy” the situation by pulling out of the pact in 60 days unless Moscow takes clear steps to come back into compliance.

Mr. Pompeo’s ultimatum came after months of warnings from the Trump administration, which has been joined by NATO allies in calling Russia out for developing and deploying missiles that violate the 1987 year INF Treaty — allegations Moscow denies.

The treaty, negotiated by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, prevents the U.S. and Russia them from building or deploying nuclear-capable missiles and launch systems with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles. Analysts say the pact’s goal when signed was to prevent a buildup of so-called “tactical nukes” by U.S. and Russian forces in nations across both Eastern and Western Europe.

 Read more at Washington Times

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