The Trump administration and NATO, which have been antagonists more often than not, presented an unusual united front on Tuesday, when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave Russia a 60-day ultimatum to come back into compliance with a Cold War-era arms treaty.
After a meeting of senior U.S., Canadian, and European diplomats at NATO in Brussels on Tuesday, Pompeo accused Russia of being in material breach of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, saying Washington would suspend obligation to the agreement in 60 days if Moscow doesn’t reverse course.
Almost immediately, NATO foreign ministers released a joint statement supporting America’s accusations and acknowledging that Russia was violating the treaty, which prohibits the use of nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (300 to 3,400 miles).
In the case of some of the foreign ministers, the show of support for the U.S. position may reflect a desire to fix rather than ditch the INF Treaty altogether, as Trump has previously threatened to do.
In a statement that was uncharacteristically strong for the alliance, the ministers said the United States has remained in full compliance with its INF Treaty obligations, pinning the responsibility for preserving the arms control agreement squarely on Moscow’s shoulders.
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