July 18 (UPI) -- The United States could suspend its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty in a matter of weeks, prompting NATO leaders to prepare for a world with more Russian missiles.
U.S. officials have called on Moscow to destroy the new SSC-8 missile systems by Aug. 2 that they say violates the INF treaty. Russia denies allegations that it has deployed missiles that violate the treaty and is unlikely to change its stance in the next few weeks.
"Therefore, we have to be prepared for a world without the INF Treaty and with more Russian missiles," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
He called the INF the "cornerstone of arms control in Europe" and without it, NATO would have to strengthen its integrated air and missile defense in Europe. NATO must maintain a credible deterrence against Russia, he said.
"Now Russia has started deploying these missiles again," Stolenberg said. "They are mobile, hard to detect, can reach all European cities within minutes reducing the warning time," Stolenberg said.
The INF dates back to 1987 in the finals years of the Cold War.