NATO rejects Russian accusations on missile deployment

Flags of Alliance members flap in the wind outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

BRUSSELS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – NATO is not planning to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, the Western military alliance said on Tuesday, rejecting Russian accusations and a call by Moscow for a moratorium on this kind of weapons in Europe.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels that Russia itself had violated the meanwhile demised INF treaty for years by deploying new intermediate range nuclear capable missiles in Europe, adding that NATO did not aim to mirror Moscow’s behaviour.

“The proposal from Russia on a moratorium is not credible because we had a ban and they violated that ban,” Stoltenberg said.

“So unless Russia in a verifiable way destroys all its SSC-8 missiles, which are those missiles that violated the INF treaty, then it is not credible when they now propose a ban on something they actually have already started to deploy.”

Stoltenberg was referring to the 1987 INF treaty between then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan that banned intermediate-range nuclear weapons – those with a range of 500 to 5,500 km (310 to 3,400 miles) – in Europe.

Source: Reporting by Sabine Siebold, REUTERS