US Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Thursday that Washington would respond if Russia refused to end its “blatant violation” of a Cold War nuclear arms treaty.

Mattis said the Kremlin was treating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with “cavalier disregard” over a new Russian ground-launched missile system.

The United States has said for almost two years that Russia’s 9M729 system breaches the INF treaty, which bans mid-range missiles that had been the subject of a mini-arms race in Europe between the Soviet Union and Washington in the 1980s.

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