National Security

US NATO Commander: UN Nuke Ban Is ‘Not Realistic’

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

The proposed United Nations ban on nuclear weapons is unrealistic in today’s high-threat environment, according to the U.S. commander of NATO forces.

“[A] nuclear weapons ban is just not realistic,” said Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who also heads U.S. European Command, while testifying Tuesday before the House Committee on Armed Services.

Scaparrotti pointed to North Korea’s nuclear provocations and Russia’s aggressive military modernization as examples as to why a nuclear ban would be unrealistic.

The general’s comments come one day after the U.S. led a walk out of U.N. talks on a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons.

“There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons,” Amb. Nikki Haley told reporters. “But we have to be realistic. Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?”

Haley was joined by several U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, France and South Korea.

Scaparrotti noted in his opening statement that Russia “has repeatedly violated international agreements and treaties that underpin European peace and stability, including the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).”

Russia is believed to have violated the INF treaty when it deployed the SSC-8 intermediate-range cruise missile. The missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and is estimated to have a range of 300 to 3,400 miles, which falls under intermediate range.

The general added that he had no indication that Russia will return to INF treaty compliance.

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