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NATO prepares ‘defensive’ response to Russia arms treaty breach

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NATO will this week decide how to respond to Russia’s violation of a key Cold War arms treaty, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday, insisting any measures would be defensive.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty is expected to formally collapse on August 2 after both Russia and the US pulled out, dealing a blow to international arms control efforts.

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Stoltenberg said there was “no indication” the Kremlin was prepared to destroy a missile system the West says breaches the INF and so NATO defence ministers will use talks on Wednesday and Thursday to agree countermeasures.

“Our response will be defensive, measured and coordinated. We will not mirror what Russia does,” Stoltenberg told reporters, saying NATO did not intend to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.

“We do not want a new arms race, but as Russia is deploying new missiles, we must ensure that our deterrence and defence remains credible and effective.”

After years of complaining to Russia about the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile system, the US announced in February it would pull out of the INF in August unless Moscow backed down.

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NATO’s 29 allies have unanimously backed Washington’s assessment that the nuclear-capable missile violates the 1987 treaty, which banned ground launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (300 to 3,400 miles).

Diplomats say that rather than simply agreeing with the US, several allies have carried out their own independent investigation and reached the same conclusion themselves.

A meeting of the NATO-Russia Council has been called next week as a last-ditch bid to persuade Moscow to abandon the missiles and save the treaty.

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“We call on Russia to take the responsible path,” Stoltenberg said.

“But unfortunately, we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so. In fact, it continues to develop and field the new missiles.”

After long denying the existence of the missile system, Russia now insists it complies with the INF and accuses the US in turn of violating the accord.

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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