Secretary General: NATO response to INF Treaty demise will be measured and responsible
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg marked the end of the INF Treaty with a press conference on Friday (2 August 2019), stressing that NATO's response will be "measured and responsible", ensuring credible and effective deterrence and defence.
Mr. Stoltenberg explained that the INF Treaty had come to an end due to Russia's deployment of the SSC-8 missile system, which is nuclear-capable, mobile, hard to detect, and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict. He stressed that "all NATO Allies agree that these missiles violate the INF Treaty", and that Russia continues to develop and field the systems, despite years of engagement by the US and other Allies."We regret that Russia showed no willingness and took no steps to comply with its international obligations," he said, adding that all Allies support the US' decision to withdraw, as "no international agreement is effective if it is only respected by one side. Russia bears the sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty".
The Secretary General said that NATO will now work on issues such as exercises, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air and missile defences, and conventional capabilities, while also ensuring that NATO's nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. He stressed that "we will not rush implementation or make any rash moves; we will consider our options carefully," adding that "everything we do will be balanced, coordinated and defensive." He further noted that Allies remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. He concluded: "We will not mirror what Russia does, we do not want a new arms race, and we have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. NATO continues to aspire for a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make that possible."