Putin suspends Russian obligations under key nuclear pact

President Vladimir Putin on Monday officially suspended Russia's participation in a key Cold War-era arms treaty, after the U.S. first moved to ditch the INF deal.

In a statement on Monday, the Kremlin said the suspension would last until the U.S. "ends its violations of the treaty or until it terminates".

Putin's order came as U.S. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia's General Staff, met in Vienna.

Russian Federation has denied flouting the accord and has accused Washington of violating the deal itself, allegations which have been rejected by the US.

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

The bilateral INF Treaty, the first of its kind to eliminate an entire class of missiles, banned both countries from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

The move also reflected the view of US President Donald Trump's administration that the treaty was an obstacle to efforts needed to counter intermediate-range missiles deployed by China, which is not part of the treaty.

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Russian Federation has charged that the US has breached the pact by deploying missile defence facilities in eastern Europe that could fire cruise missiles instead of interceptors - a claim rejected by the U.S.

Nato has said that U.S. allies "fully support" its withdrawal from the pact, insisting that Russia's 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems violate the treaty.

Such weapons take less time to reach their targets compared to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pompeo said Russian Federation has weapons that put millions of Americans and European allies at risk.

"We will take our time, we will be measured, we will be united and coordinated", he said of NATO's response, adding that the Western military alliance has no "intention of deploying new ground-launched nuclear weapons in Europe".

The treaty's demise "could actually trigger a possible missile crisis in Europe as it did in the 1980s", Moscow-based military expert Pavel Felgenhauer said.

At the United Nations, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds a strong hope that Moscow and Washington could resolve their differences over the treaty in the coming months.

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