Russia may scrap U.S. arms control treaty: Interfax

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia warned the United States on Thursday it might pull out of a Cold War nuclear arms reduction treaty because of plans by Washington to build a missile shield in Eastern Europe.

General Yuri Baluyevsky, head of the Russian general staff, said Russia could unilaterally withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Russian news agencies reported.

When asked whether Russia would pull out of the agreement, Baluyevsky, said: “We will see how our American partners are going to act,” Interfax news agency reported.

“What they are doing at the moment -- creating a third positioning region for anti-missile defense in Europe -- is totally inexplicable,” he said.

The INF treaty was one of the key arms control pacts of the Cold War. The treaty was signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in December 1987.

“There is a possibility of leaving the agreement if one of the sides presents convincing evidence,” Baluyevsky said, Interfax reported.

“Today there is such convincing evidence - many countries are developing and perfecting medium range rockets.”

The United States has suggested the shield is needed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles but Russian officials have said Washington and its NATO allies are building the shield because of Russia.