Good luck with that: US demands Russia ‘end or modify’ 9M729 missile to save INF treaty

Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons’ range to return to compliance with a key Cold War-era arms control treaty and avert a U.S. pullout from the pact, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. “Either you rid the system, rid the launcher or change the system where it doesn’t exceed the range” in a verifiable manner, said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson. On Tuesday, the United States announced it was giving Russia 60 days to end what Washington charges is the missiles’ violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or it would begin to withdraw from the pact. The possibility that the treaty might unravel alarms Washington’s European allies, who fear its collapse would trigger a new U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons race with the danger that Europe itself could become a nuclear battleground.

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