NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addresses European Parliament Foreign Affairs committee members at the European Parliament in Brussels, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Stoltenberg told lawmakers that NATO needs to beef up its military training operation in Iraq once the government in Baghdad requests that it resume work. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BRUSSELS, February 13. /TASS/. NATO would “remain fully committed to arms control and disarmament,” as it prepares its response to Russia’s alleged deployment of 9M729 (SSC-8) missiles, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday, as he opened the second meeting of the Alliance’s Ministers of Defense.

“We will […] discuss our response to the ongoing Russian missile build-up, both conventional and nuclear. NATO has been united on Russia’s breach of the INF Treaty. Consulting closely over many years. And agreeing on every step. Last June, we agreed a balanced and defensive package of measures to respond to Russia’s SSC-8 missiles. Today, we will take a broader look at the full range of Russia’s short and intermediate range missiles, while remaining fully committed to arms control and disarmament,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the ministers would also discuss increased military spending. On February 11, Stoltenberg said that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty demise demonstrated the “strength of NATO.”

“I think the demise of the INF Treaty, which is a bad and negative thing, shows the importance and the strength of NATO,” he said. “We [NATO] have agreed on every step. First, we all agreed, […] that Russia was violating the treaty. […] And then we agreed that we called on Russia to come back into compliance. Russia did not come back into compliance. Then we set a time limit and Russia didn’t come back to the compliance. And then we all agreed on the US decision to withdraw, because a treaty which is only respected by one side doesn’t work. And then we have agreed, after close consultations, on the way forward.”

According to the US and NATO, Russian 9M729 missiles violate the now-defunct INF Treaty. In January 2019, Russian Ministry of Defense conducted a presentation of the 9M729 missile for all military attaches in Moscow, showing that these missiles comply with the terms of the military agreement. However, representatives of the US and leading NATO countries refused to show up at the event.

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