NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, on Tuesday, called on Russian Federation to address long-running concerns about a new missile system that appears to be in breach of its worldwide treaty obligations.
But behind the scenes, officials in Washington pressed for Hutchison to backtrack on her comments, especially after the Russians mocked her remarks, and then suggested it was the United States, not Russia, that was deploying weapons in violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, which dates to the Reagan administration.
The threat from a senior USA diplomat to "take out" Russian missiles that Washington believes are in breach of an important Cold War arms control treaty looks set to cause additional tensions with Moscow, just ahead of a meeting of Nato defence ministers that opens in Brussels on Wednesday.
"Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile".
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NATO fears the 9M729 system contravenes the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF. The treaty bans nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missiles that could hit Europe or US territory such as Alaska.
Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty required the U.S. and Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently commit not to develop nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,000 kilometres.
Under the 2019 NDAA, US legislators allocated $58 million to counter Russia's alleged non-compliance with the INF Treaty.
Rather, the message to Russian Federation is that "we know they have violated the treaty and we are beginning the research capabilities that are allowed by the treaty to deter a medium-range ballistic missile".
The US ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has threatened to "take out" a Russian nuclear weapons system that posed a threat to Europe and the US.
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Later on in the press conference, however, the president addressed the Kavanaugh allegations. " You never do ", Trump responded. But Trump ignored her, telling one of his staffers to pass the microphone to another reporter. " You never do ", he said.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. permanent representative to NATO told reporters on Tuesday that the United States had evidence that Russian Federation was in violation of a 1987 treaty preventing it from developing intermediate-range missiles. Although U.S. officials have long denied that is the goal of their missile defense efforts, Hutchison's comments fed directly into the Russian concerns.
The United States believes Russian Federation is developing a ground-launched system in breach of a Cold War treaty that could allow Russian Federation to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice, but Moscow has consistently denied any such violation.
Then- Pacific Command chief - and now Ambassador to South Korea - Adm. Harry Harris told Congress earlier this year that the treaty is "self-limiting", particularly since "over 90 percent of China's ground-based missiles would violate the treaty".
Mattis, however, said after four years of diplomatic effort, the U.S. is living by the treaty and Russian Federation is not. Surely not. Is she warning that if the Russian development of these weapons goes ahead then the U.S. will find systems to target them in the event of a crisis?
Stoltenberg declined to say where the missile system could be deployed, citing intelligence concerns.
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She said she was inebriated but confident enough in her recollection to go public and ask the FBI to investigate the claims. Cozzolino "was bleeding from the right ear", according to the report, and he was later treated at a local hospital.