NATO denies Russia request to bar missiles in Europe

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has rejected a request from Russian President Vladimir Putin to prohibit missile deployments in Europe, now that Moscow and the United States have left a 1988 nuclear treaty.

Because both nations left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty this year, they are free to develop and deploy nuclear and conventional ballistic and cruise missiles. Putin asked NATO for a moratorium to keep the United States or Western European nations from deploying previously banned missiles so close to Russian soil.

NATO declined the proposal Thursday, because it says Russia still possesses missiles — for the SSC-8 system — that were banned under the INF pact.

“Unless and until Russia verifiably destroys the SSC-8 system, this moratorium on deployments is not a real offer,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungesu told the Financial Times.

Lungesu added that NATO has heard Russia’s proposal before, and said it’s “not a credible offer.”

In June, NATO gave Moscow five weeks to destroy any remaining ground-launched missiles that violate the INF treaty, including the SSC-8s. Last month, Putin ordered his military to respond to a U.S. missile test.

ByNicholas Sakelaris