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Russia warns of retaliation as Trump says the US will exit nuclear weapons treaty

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President Donald Trump said Washington will exit the Cold-War era treaty that eliminated a class of nuclear weapons due to Russian violations, triggering a warning of retaliatory measures from Moscow.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, required elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.

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“Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump told reporters on Saturday after a rally in Nevada.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Sunday that a unilateral U.S. withdrawal would be “very dangerous” and lead to a “military-technical” retaliation.

U.S. authorities believe Moscow is developing and has deployed a ground-launched system in breach of the INF treaty that could allow it to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice. Russia has consistently denied any such violation.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before departure from Elko Regional Airport in Elko, Nevada, U.S., October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump said the United States will develop the weapons unless Russia and China agree to a halt on development.

China is not a party to the treaty and has invested heavily in conventional missiles, while the INF has banned U.S possession of ground- launched ballistic missiles or cruise missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (311 and 3,418 miles).

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Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, will visit Moscow next week.

Ryabkov, in comments reported by state-controlled RIA news agency, said if the United States withdrew, Russia would have no choice but to retaliate, including taking unspecified measures of a “military-technical nature”.

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“But we would rather things did not get that far,” RIA quoted him as saying.

TASS news agency quoted him as saying withdrawal “would be a very dangerous step”, and it was Washington and not Moscow that was failing to comply with the treaty.

He said the Trump administration was using the treaty in an attempt to blackmail the Kremlin, putting global security at risk. “…We will, of course, accept no ultimatums or blackmail methods,” Interfax quoted him as saying.

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British defense minister Gavin Williamson, in comments reported by the Financial Times, said London stood “resolute” behind Washington over the issue, and that the Kremlin was making a mockery of the agreement.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali and Polina Devitt; editing by John Stonestreet


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Accused child molester Roy Moore defends Brett Kavanaugh: ‘I too was the object of false allegations’

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Accused child molester Roy Moore on Wednesday came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.

Moore's remarks came after The New York Times published accounts from a new book, which found that two of Kavanaugh's accusers were credible.

In a statement to the press, Moore defended Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

"I too was the subject of false allegations, but unlike Justice Kavanaugh and others who have suffered the ire of the left, I filed suit against my accusers and their conspirators," Moore said. "For over two years, I have not seen nor been able to question any of those who went on national television tol tell their false stories just 32 days before the election in December 2017, and ironically I have been sued for defamation for merely denying their false and malicious accusations."

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Trump says ‘many options’ on Iran response

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US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has "many options" in addition to military strikes against Iran and that details of newly announced sanctions will come within 48 hours.

Asked by reporters about a possible US attack on Iran, Trump said "there are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that."

He explained that by "ultimate option" he meant "war."

Trump said that the specifics of sanctions he announced earlier would be made public "over the next 48 hours."

US ally Saudi Arabia says Iran was behind a missile or drone attack setting ablaze major oil facilities last weekend.

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Bermuda braces for Hurricane Humberto

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Residents of the tiny British archipelago of Bermuda battened down the hatches on Wednesday ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Humberto, a major category 3 storm packing fierce winds and punishing rain.

The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center put the center of the storm about 225 kilometers (140 miles) west of Bermuda at 1800 GMT, with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour.

The core of the large storm was expected to pass to the northwest of Bermuda later in the day or overnight, dumping as much as 15 centimeters (six inches) of rain. A heightened storm surge is possible.

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