The NATO defense ministers have discussed the nature of the steps that will be necessary to protect Europe if the bilateral US-Russian disarmament treaty is canceled.
Where the United States and NATO accuse Russia of violating the MNF-I Treaty by developing its cruise missile system SSC8.
Earlier this month, Washington announced it would withdraw from the treaty and Moscow responded similarly.
The United States now has a six-month deadline to persuade Moscow to return to compliance with the treaty before its permanent abolition, which NATO supports.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia “to seize the last opportunity to choose the responsible path”, while noting that NATO should prepare for a world without the treaty.
Stoltenberg told reporters that Moscow was continuing to develop the SSC8 missiles.
“We don’t intend to deploy new nuclear missiles on the ground in Europe, but we have to make sure that we have an effective deterrent and defense system”.
The Treaty, which bans nuclear missiles between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, formed the foundation of Europe’s security architecture since its signing in 1987.
Stoltenberg explained that the defense ministers will discuss a number of security issues during their meeting and that the medium-range nuclear weapons treaty will be one of the important issues on the agenda of the meeting.
“We will continue to call on Russia to fulfill its obligations stemming from that treaty”, Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg said he would meet with Russian officials on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference scheduled for February 15-17 in Munich, and that it was important to continue the dialogue with Russia.
US President Donald Trump announced early this month his country’s withdrawal from the Treaty on the nuclear powers of medium-range, accusing them of violating, which Moscow denied.
In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of his country’s work on the treaty itself, and announced his agreement to start producing a medium-range missile faster than sound.
He recalled that the treaty was signed in 1987, when former US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty obliging the two countries not to test or deploy land-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km.
The treaty was an important step in curbing the deployment of Russian warheads that would threaten European countries, especially nuclear-capable missiles.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Stoltenberg said that NATO defense ministers would also discuss the issue of burden sharing, adding that the allies had begun investing more in defense.
He also welcomed the addition of Europe and Canada to $ 41 billion in defense spending over the past two years.
He added that the meeting will address the NATO missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.
Kosovo is participating in the meeting as a country invited to attend for the first time, and it is the first meeting in which Macedonia is invited after the alliance signed its accession protocol to NATO last week.
It’s worth mentioning that Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar will take part in the meeting, which will see high-level talks among member states.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Turkish Minister Akar met his Greek counterpart Evangelos Apostolakis, the US Defense Secretary Patrick Chanahan and defense ministers from other NATO countries, including Italy, France, Montenegro and Georgia, are also expected to meet.