Trump says US to exit nuclear treaty, Russia warns of retaliation

President Donald Trump said Russia has been violating the agreement for many years. (AP)
Updated 21 October 2018
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Trump says US to exit nuclear treaty, Russia warns of retaliation

  • The pact prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles
  • Trump said that ‘Russia has violated the agreement’

ELKO, Nev/MOSCOW: US 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 land-based short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.
“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 US withdrawal would be “very dangerous” and lead to a “military-technical” retaliation.
Gorbachev, now a frail 87-year-old, said it would be a mistake for Washington to quit the treaty, and that it would undermine work he and US counterparts did to end the Cold War Arms race.
“Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?” Interfax news agency quoted Gorbachev as saying.
A Kremlin spokesman said Russian President Vladimir Putin would seek answers about the planned withdrawal when he meets John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, for scheduled talks in Moscow this week.
US 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.
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 USpossession of ground-launched ballistic missiles or cruise missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (311 and 3,418 miles).
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.”
“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.
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.
However, another of the United States’ NATO allies, Germany, voiced misgivings.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that for 30 years the treaty had been a pillar of Europe’s security architecture. “We now urge the United States to consider the possible consequences,” of quitting the pact, Maas said in a statement issued on Sunday.


Media urged to deny Christchurch shooting accused the publicity he seeks

Updated 19 min 52 sec ago
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Media urged to deny Christchurch shooting accused the publicity he seeks

  • “We’re just going to be very careful we don’t become a platform for any kind of extremist agenda,” say Radio New Zealand chief
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier urged the public not to speak the gunman's name to deny the infamy he wants

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: The media has been urged to stop naming the man charged with the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch last week that left 50 people dead.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday that she would never speak his name. In a speech to parliament, she urged the public to follow suit and deny the gunman the infamy he wants.
“I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them,” she added. “He may have sought notoriety but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name.”
Arden said the media can “play a strong role” in limiting coverage of extreme views such as his.
“Of course, people will want to know what is happening with the trial,” she said. “But I would hope there are ways that it could be covered without adding to the notoriety that this individual seeks.
“But the one thing I can assure you – you won’t hear me speak his name.”
The man accused of the mass shootings has so far been charged with one count of murder, but New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has said further charges will be brought against him. The man said in a manifesto posted online shortly before the attacks that he intended to survive so that he could continue to spread his ideals, and that he intends to plead not guilty. He has said he plans to represent himself in court, although a judge can order a lawyer to assist him.
There have been calls for the media to refuse to report anything he says during the trial. Paul Thompson, the chief executive of Radio New Zealand, said his station will exercise caution and asked editors at all media outlets to take part in a discussion about covering the case.
“We’re just going to be very careful we don’t become a platform for any kind of extremist agenda,” he said, explaining that the station does not want to inflame the situation or become a party to the accused killer’s agenda.
Thompson described the case as “uncharted territory” but said he remains confident that his reporters will do their jobs professionally.
Dr Philip Cass, a senior lecturer in journalism at Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology, said the media will have to make “a very fine judgment” about what is reported if the accused killer uses the court as “a forum for the expression of his opinion.” He was wary, however, of calls to completely avoid reporting what is said in court.
“If you do that then we are moving into an area of censorship,” he said, adding that it is the media’s responsibility to provide a record of what is said and done.
Dr Catherine Strong, a journalism lecturer at Massey University, said she is confident that the media in New Zealand media will act responsibly. There is no legal or ethical imperative for journalists to report everything the accused says in court, she pointed out. The country’s media has already shown maturity by not using the name of the accused in headlines and by focusing on covering the shootings from the perspective of the victims, Strong added.

Hal Crawford, the chief news officer at MediaWorks, which owns TV3 and RadioLive in New Zealand, said, "Newshub is open to an industry-wide set of guidelines for reporting on Tarrant's trial, and we are in discussions with other newsrooms. Our aims are to minimise publicity of damaging ideology while reporting the workings of justice objectively." 

The man, who has not yet entered a plea, is due to appear in court again on April 5.