PUTIN WARNS NATO OVER U.S. MIS­SILES IN EU

Calgary Herald - - WORLD -

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin fol­lowed up Wednes­day on U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­clared in­ten­tion to pull out of the 1987 arms con­trol pact by warn­ing that if the U.S. de­ploys the now-banned nu­clear mis­siles in Europe, Rus­sia would tar­get the na­tions host­ing them.

The Eu­ro­pean Union has de­scribed the In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nu­clear Forces (INF) Treaty as a cor­ner­stone of Eu­ro­pean se­cu­rity and urged Rus­sia and the United States to up­hold it. NATO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg said NATO al­lies blame Rus­sia for vi­o­lat­ing the treaty, but he does not ex­pect them to de­ploy more nu­clear war­heads in Europe in re­sponse.

But he did not en­cour­age the U.S., the most in­flu­en­tial mem­ber of NATO, to stay in the treaty. He said the 29 al­lies were as­sess­ing “the im­pli­ca­tions of the new Rus­sian mis­sile for our se­cu­rity.”

Putin, pic­tured, said he hoped the U.S. did not plan to put the kind of mis­siles the treaty banned in Europe, if it does with­draw from the pact.

“If they are de­ployed in Europe, we will nat­u­rally have to re­spond in kind,” Putin said.

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