Nato and Russia trade barbs after collapse of nuclear arms treaty,

US pulls out of cold war-era INF treaty after Moscow’s ‘secret deployment’ of cruise missiles.

A key international nuclear disarmament treaty has formally collapsed amid mutual recriminations between the west and Russia, and with Nato pledging to boost Europe’s military defences.

The alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said Nato countries were facing a threat from previously banned Russian land-based cruise missiles that could “reach European cities, with only minutes of warning time”.

The 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, banned all surface-to-surface missiles with a range of between 500km and 5,500km, effectively removing them from Europe. […]

The US is expected to test ground-launched cruise missiles within weeks, though the House of Representatives, controlled by the Democratic party, is refusing to approve a $96m (£80m) budget for further research and development.

It is not clear that any European country would be willing to allow land-based missiles to be deployed on its soil; one country, Poland, has insisted there would have to be unanimous Nato support for their deployment, which is unlikely.

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