Moscow: Russian Hypersonic Weapons Eliminate Threat From US Exit From INF Treaty

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The United States is suspending its compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russian Federation on Saturday and will withdraw from the landmark 1987 arms control accord in six months if Moscow does not end its alleged violation of the pact, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

"If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty within the six-month period by verifiably destroying its INF-violating missiles, their launchers and associated equipment, the treaty will terminate", he said.

United States officials also have expressed concern that China, which isn't part of the treaty, is deploying large numbers of missiles in Asia that the USA can't counter because it's bound by the treaty.

"We'll follow all the steps that need to be taken on the treaty to suspend our obligations with the intent to withdraw".

Minutes after the USA announcement, NATO nations urged "Russia to use the remaining six months to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty".

"Our NATO Allies fully support us, because they understand the threat posed by Russia's violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations", the president's statement continued.

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Russian Federation says the missile's range puts it outside the treaty, and has accused the United States of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty that it wants to leave anyway so it can develop new missiles.

There has been no formal indication from the State Department that the topic of the briefing will be the treaty, but State Department officials indicated in comments Thursday that the United States is prepared to stop abiding by the bilateral midrange nuclear arms treaty.

"There have been various critics, across the spectrum, saying the INF treaty was out of date because it was something the USA and Soviet Union had agreed to, but countries such as China hadn't. The US position remains rather tough and ultimatum-like", Ryabkov said, according to TASS.

The prospect of USA withdrawal from the INF pact has stirred concern globally. USA officials say Washington could resume its INF obligations should Russian Federation meet its requirements.

"It would be best to keep the INF in place", she told Al Jazeera. "When only one party respects an arms control treaty while the other side flaunts it, it leaves one side vulnerable, no one is safer, and (it) discredits the very idea of arms control".

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