A Russian hypersonic missile (Picture: Russian MOD).
NATO’s Secretary General has warned the world must prepare for more nuclear-capable Russian missiles that can reach Europe.
Speaking at a meeting of EU defence ministers, Jens Stoltenberg reminded reporters that Moscow has just two days to comply with the terms of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The 1987 Treaty between the United States and Russia bans all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges – although an exception is made for sea-launched weapons.
The Kremlin denies it is in violation of the INF but their protests have cut no ice in the White House and the US looks likely to withdraw from it.
“The United States made it clear that they will start the withdrawal process from the treaty,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
"If Russia doesn’t come back into compliance, then we have to be prepared for a world without the INF Treaty and with more Russian missiles violating the treaty.
“These missiles are hard to detect, they are mobile, they are nuclear capable, they can reach European cities and therefore this is something which is of great concern.
“And it undermines a cornerstone of European security, the INF Treaty.”
The fate of the treaty hangs in the balance but former NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson said that dialogue between Moscow and the West should remain open.
Speaking at a Chatham House conference, he told the audience:
“I believe that Russia matters, relations with Russia matter.”
“Bring them out of the bubble in which they have trapped themselves at the present moment,” he later urged.
“Try to bring them out from the paranoia that they seem to have manufactured and are believing at the present moment. And get them talking or arguing and fighting across the table rather than across the security council tables as well.”