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Sunday, 25 August 2019

Pompeo dismisses Putin missile threat as 'bluster'

AFP , Sunday 24 Feb 2019
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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Photo: Reuters)
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed Sunday a threat by Russian leader Vladimir Putin to deploy new missiles against Western capitals as "bluster" designed to divide Washington and its allies.

In a speech last week, Putin warned the US against deploying any new missiles in Europe after the collapse of a key Cold War-era treaty, saying Russia would respond by deploying weapons targeting "decision-making centers."

But in an interview with CNN, Pompeo said Putin's comments amounted to an empty threat and the Russian leader was trying to divert attention away from Moscow's violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

"The Russians violated that treaty... Now it's time to figure out how to move forward and come up with something the Russians will actually live by," said Pompeo.

"His bluster is aimed at trying to convince the world, to drive a wedge between the United states and Europe when everyone is fully on board.

"The Europeans were fully supportive of our decision, and we'll move forward together in ensuring the security of the United States' people."

The US announced earlier this month it was withdrawing from the INF treaty, saying Russia had been in breach of the agreement for several years by deploying a new missile system. Russia, which insists the system complies with the INF, said it would pull out too.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said several times in recent weeks that the alliance would not deploy any new land-based nuclear weapons in response to the Russian missiles.

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