Putin threatens arms race if United States dumps nuclear treaty

U.S. signals it will suspend nuclear treaty with Russia after NATO finding

US to suspend nuclear pact over alleged violations

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners will hold talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin as Kiev seeks worldwide support for its Black Sea confrontation with Russian Federation.

"Measures were considered to reinforce the armed forces' combat capacity and means amid the mounting arms race related to the US plans to quit the INF Treaty", Shoigu told reporters during a conference.

Until then, Pompeo said, the United States would not "test or produce or deploy any systems" that would breach the treaty.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that "Russia strictly complies with the provisions of the treaty, and the American side is aware of that".

He said the US needs to redouble diplomatic efforts with Russian Federation to find a way to resolve the noncompliance issues, but he doubts this will happen.

The United States warned Russian Federation on Tuesday it will withdraw from a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms if Moscow does not dismantle missiles that Washington says breach it within 60 days. "It's urgent that Russian Federation ensures full compliance in a transparent and verifiable way, because the INF treaty is so important for our security, " Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday.

This video grab provided by RU-RTR Russian television via AP television on Thursday, March 1, 2018, shows the launch of what President Vladimir Putin said is Russia's new nuclear-powered intercontinental cruise missile.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected accusations of noncompliance: "Russia strictly complies with the conditions of the treaty and the USA side is aware of that".

"During this 60 days, we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we'll see what happens during this 60-day period", Pompeo told journalists in Brussels. "We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action in response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF Treaty", he said. "We hope that they'll change course, but there's been absolutely no indication that they'll do so".

The NATO partners on Tuesday also held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. "Now Russia is attempting to use Crimea to expand its influence and control of the Sea of Azov", Stoltenberg said.

Putin on Wednesday accused the United States of making up excuses for pulling out of the pact, saying that the USA first made up its mind to walk out of it and only then "started to look for the reasons why they should do it".

"It is "simplest" for the United States to say, 'Russia is to blame, '" Putin said.

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