NATO chief appeals to Russia ahead of missile pact deadline

German Defence Minister and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Brussels

Newly appointed German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg participate in a media conference ahead of a meeting at the NATO private residence in Brussels, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

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BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is appealing to Russia to comply with a key Cold War-era missile treaty just days before a U.S. deadline to do so expires, but he says the end of the landmark European security pact appears imminent.

In February, the United States began withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty it agreed in 1987 with the then Soviet Union, blaming Moscow for developing missiles that do not comply with it. Russia has until Friday to destroy the new missiles.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday that “we see the demise of the INF treaty,” but he added that “we still call on Russia to come back into compliance and to save the treaty.”

He told reporters that NATO “will do what is necessary to have credible deterrence and defense.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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