“NATO will continue to urge Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance with the INF Treaty,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after a recent alliance meeting. “But we must also prepare for a situation without the INF, and today the defense ministers of alliance countries have agreed that NATO will respond if Russia does not return to compliance,” he continued.
According to the secretary general, the member countries have agreed to maintain a “considered and defensive approach”. The alliance has no intention of deploying new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe, Stoltenberg assured.
NATO has decided to guarantee the “effectiveness and reliability of its nuclear deterrence systems”. The member states agreed on potential measures that could be taken, including training programs, intelligence gathering, the development of anti-air and anti-missile defense, and the use of regular weapons capabilities.
At present, both Russia and the US have suspended their compliance with the Intermediate-ranged Nuclear Forces Treaty. Both countries announced this at the start of February after reciprocal accusations of non-compliance. The US was the first to announce its withdrawal, and Moscow responded in kind shortly thereafter. US President Donald Trump said that unless Russia returns to compliance with the terms of the treaty within six months, Washington will withdraw from it for good. Moscow believes that the US has already had plans to withdraw from the treaty for a long time.