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NATO countries threaten debate over nuclear retrofitting

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg no longer rules out a discussion about nuclear retrofitting in Europe. If Russia sticks to its SSC-8 cruise missiles, the defense alliance „will have no choice but to react,“ the dpa Norwegian said in an interview at the turn of the year.

However, Stoltenberg emphasized that he continued to engage in dialogue with Moscow. But it is Russia, which is currently breaking the INF treaty on the abandonment of nuclear weapons. „There are currently no new US cruise missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian cruise missiles,“ he said. The SSC-8 is mobile, can be equipped with nuclear warheads and could reach European cities. If Russia does not become loyal again, it will be „a big problem“.

As a possible date for a first debate on retrofitting at NATO, the meeting of defense ministers in mid-February applies. The US had given Moscow a 60-day ultimatum in early December to promise the destruction of the SSC-8. If Russia breached the treaty, it would not make sense for the US to remain in the treaty, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time. Accordingly, the US could theoretically begin in early February with the construction of new nuclear medium-range systems.