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Russia may abandon arms treaty with US

[JURIST] Chief of the Russian Military General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky [official profile] told Russian media Thursday that Russia might unilaterally opt out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) [text; US State Dept. backgrounder] if the US continues efforts to establish missile defense systems in Central Europe. Baluyevsky has previously criticized the establishment of the missile defense bases [UPI report] in Central Europe. Just last week at a security conference in Munich, Russian President Vladimir Putin [BBC profile] said that the INF no longer serves Russia's interests [Financial Times report].

Russian-US relations have been strained of late. Russia distrusts what they see as overreaching US foreign policy, and the US is wary of Russia's human rights record [JURIST reports]. Both nations still have huge nuclear arsenals. Weapons makers in Russia say they are prepared to start making intermediate range missiles if Russia abandons the treaty. AP has more.

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