December 4, 2018 / 6:29 PM / 14 days ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. gives Russia 60 days to comply with nuclear treaty

* U.S. exit from INF treaty now more likely -NATO chief

* Pompeo says won’t deploy any new missiles for 60 days

* Allies concerned about new arms race in Europe (Adds details, quotes)

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS, Dec 4 (Reuters) - The United States delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of a arms control treaty that keeps missiles out of Europe.

NATO allies led by Germany pressed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting in Brussels to give diplomacy one last chance before Washington pulls out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, fearing a new arms race in Europe.

In turn, NATO foreign ministers agreed to formally declare Russia in “material breach” of the INF treaty in a statement in support of the United States.

Russia denies undertaking any such development of land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads and hitting European cities at short notice.

While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there would now be an intense diplomatic push to try to convince Russia to give up what Pompeo said were “multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles”, Washington is set to pull out in February.

“Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe,” Pompeo said of the missiles, which also are called Novator 9M729, after a meeting with his NATO counterparts. He added that Russia’s actions “greatly undermine America’s national security and that of our allies”. (Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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