NATO says no progress in Russia talks on arms treaty

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Senior NATO and Russian officials failed to make a breakthrough Friday in talks on saving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, raising the spectre of a renewed arms race in Europe.Western capitals allege that Russia’s latest generation of medium-range missiles breach the terms of the Cold War era INF treaty, and put European cities at risk.

The United States has warned that it will begin a six-month withdrawal process from the treaty on February 2, unless Russia withdraws the 9M729 ground-based missile system.

NATO ambassadors held talks with a Russian delegation led by deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov at alliance HQ in Brussels, but the meeting ended without a breakthrough.

“There was no real progress in the meeting today because Russia did not indicate any willingness to change their position,” NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said.

He accused the Kremlin of “hollowing out” the INF treaty.

“Russia is now violating the treaty by developing and deploying new missiles,” Stoltenberg said.

“These new missiles are hard to detect, they are mobile, they are nuclear-capable, they can reach European cities and they reduce the warning time and therefore the threshold for any potential use of nuclear weapons.”