NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was taking steps to prepare should the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty fall through.

Stoltenberg spoke in Brussels on Tuesday, ahead of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) for Defence Ministers meetings.

“Russia has a last opportunity to take the responsible path to return to compliance and save the INF treaty. We urge Russia to take this opportunity. At the same time we’re planning for a world without the INF treaty,” said Stoltenberg.

“Any steps we take will be coordinated, measured and defensive. And we do not intend to deploy new ground-based nuclear missiles in Europe,” stated Stoltenberg, adding that NATO does not want a new arms race because it would be in nobody’s interest.

In his closing statement, Stoltenberg added that NATO representatives will be meeting their Russian counterparts for a renewed push to find a solution to the dispute.

On 1 February, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified Washington’s decision to suspend its obligations under the historic treaty, triggering the six-month withdrawal process, by yet again accusing Russia of violating the agreement.

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