No movement in Russian missile talks: NATO chief


MUNICH (Germany), Feb 16: Russia gave “no new signals” Friday about saving a landmark Cold War missile control agreement, the head of NATO said, as fears grow of a new arms race in Europe.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Segei Lavrov brought no breakthrough and no indication that Moscow might be willing to back down over a missile system which NATO says breaches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The impending collapse of the 1987 agreement — seen as a cornerstone of global arms control — has raised doubts about the future of the fight against proliferation.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said more talks between Russia, the US and European nations were urgently needed to save the deal.

The US began pulling out of the INF treaty earlier this month in response to Moscow’s deployment of the 9M729 missile, prompting Russia to announce its own withdrawal.

NATO has been urging Russia to save the treaty by abandoning the missile system, which officials say can hit capital cities throughout Europe as far as London.

“There were no new signals from the Russian side,” Stoltenberg said after talks with Lavrov at the Munich Security Conference.

NATO has begun planning for the collapse of the treaty, but insists it will not “mirror” Russia, and Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said there should be no “tit for tat”. (AGENCIES)