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NATO fully behind US’ decision to pull out of INF Treaty

TASS, August 2. NATO allies back the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), the North Atlantic Council issued a statement on Friday.

"The United States decision to withdraw from the Treaty, a decision fully supported by NATO Allies, is now taking effect," the statement reads, adding that NATO allies remain committed to preserve the effective arms control system and support tougher measures to achieve that.

NATO also stated that Russia bore sole responsibility for the treaty’s collapse, in spite of the unilateral decision made by the US to withdraw from the treaty. The Alliance promised to come up with a measured and responsible response to the alleged risks posed by the Russian 9M729 missile. According to Washington and its allies, these missiles violate the INF Treaty. "A situation whereby the United States fully abides by the Treaty, and Russia does not, is not sustainable," NATO says.

Earlier on Friday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington was officially pulling out of the INF Treaty. The Russian Foreign Ministry also confirmed that the treaty had been terminated on August 2 at the US initiative.

In December 2018, the US sent an ultimatum to Russia, demanding that the new Russian 9M729 cruise missiles, which the US and NATO allies believed violated the INF Treaty, be destroyed. Russia rejected these demands, saying that the technical parameters of 9M729 cruise missiles are complying with the norms allowed by the treaty. The United States and NATO countries ignored all the submitted information, including the presentation of this missile.

On February 1, the US announced the launch of the official treaty termination process, which required six months. Following the US decision, Russia also suspended its participation in the INF Treaty.