Press point

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the INF Treaty

  • 02 Aug. 2019 -
  • |
  • Last updated 02-Aug-2019 14:21

(As delivered)

Good afternoon.

For over three decades, the INF Treaty has been a landmark in arms control.

It eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons, making us all safer.

Today, the INF Treaty ceases to exist.

Because Russia has deployed the SSC-8 missile system.

The new Russian missiles are nuclear-capable, mobile, and hard to detect.

They can reach European cities with only minutes of warning time.

And they lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict.

All NATO Allies agree that these missiles violate the INF Treaty.

And Russia continues to develop and field these systems, despite years of US and Allied engagement.

Including a final opportunity over the last six months to return to compliance.

We regret that Russia showed no willingness and took no steps to comply with its international obligations.

As a result, the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Treaty is now taking place.

This decision is supported by all NATO Allies.

Because no international agreement is effective if it is only respected by one side.

Russia bears the sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty.

There are no new US missiles in Europe.

But there are new Russian missiles in Europe.

NATO will respond in a measured and responsible way to the significant risks posed by Russia’s SSC-8 system.

We have agreed a package of measures to ensure NATO’s deterrence and defence remains credible and effective.

But we will not rush implementation or make any rash moves. We will consider our options carefully.

We have decided to work on issues such as:

  • Exercises;
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance;
  • Air and missile defences;
  • And conventional capabilities.
  • We will also ensure our nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.

Some of these measures can be implemented quickly, and others will take time.

Everything we do will be balanced, coordinated and defensive.

Allies remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

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.

And with that, I’m ready to take your questions.