BRUSSELS, February 12. /TASS/. NATO would like to avoid a costly arms race with Russia, and this would require development of new weapons control measures, especially new generation missiles, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
"We want to prevent or avoid a new arms race. Therefore, we are going to look into what more we can do related to arms control. A new arms race would be dangerous, and also extremely expensive. Therefore, we regret very much the demise of the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, INF] Treaty. We will work on new effective arms control, because that's the best way to keep tensions down," the Secretary-General said.
He noted, however, that NATO also looks into its military capabilities, including "conventional capabilities" and "nuclear posture" to ensure the bloc provides deterrence even without the INF treaty.
On February 11, answering a question regarding INF demise, Stoltenberg said that this step demonstrated the "strength of NATO."
"I think the demise of the INF Treaty, which is a bad and negative thing, shows the importance and the strength of NATO," he said. "We [NATO] have agreed on every step. First, we all agreed, […] that Russia was violating the treaty. […] And then we agreed that we called on Russia to come back into compliance. Russia did not come back into compliance. Then we set a time limit and Russia didn’t come back to the compliance. And then we all agreed on the US decision to withdraw, because a treaty which is only respected by one side doesn’t work. And then we have agreed, after close consultations, on the way forward."
According to the US and NATO, Russian 9M729 missiles violate the now-defunct INF Treaty. In January 2019, Russian Ministry of Defense conducted a presentation of the 9M729 missile for all military attaches in Moscow, showing that these missile comply with the terms of the military agreement. However, representatives of the US and leading NATO countries refused to show up at the event.