The Trump administration announced Friday that it is suspending its obligations under a longstanding nuclear arms treaty with Russia and is planning to pull out of the pact altogether.
President Trump said in a statement that the US will no longer comply with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, citing Russia’s violation of the pact.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that “Russia has refused to take any steps to return to real and verifiable compliance over these 60 days.”
“The United States will therefore suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty effective Feb. 2, and we will provide Russia and the other treaty parties with formal notice that the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty effective in six months pursuant to Article 15 of the treaty,” he said.
Trump said in his statement that the US would move forward with developing our own military response options” to Russia’s violations and would work with NATO allies, who Trump has repeatedly criticized, to “deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”
US has accused Russia of violating treaty for years:
The Obama administration accused of Russia of violating the treaty by testing a new cruise missile as early as 2014, The Hill reported. “The agreement, signed by then-President Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, bans nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.”
“We provided Russia an ample window of time to mend its ways and for Russia to honor its commitment,” Pompeo said Friday. “Tomorrow, that time runs out.”
Critics worry move could trigger Cold War-style arms race:
Arms control advocates expressed concern that the move could trigger an arms race between the United States and Russia, which could destabilize parts of Europe and other parts of the world.
“Flipping over the negotiating table and storming out of the room may have worked in real estate, but when you’re dealing with nuclear treaties, the risk of misplaying your hand isn’t a failed business venture — it’s an arms race and possibly nuclear war,” Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, said in a statement to The Hill. “The administration’s decision does nothing to make America safer and does not bode well for the future of nuclear arms control.”
NATO backs move:
NATO said in a statement that it backs the United States’ decision to suspend its obligations under the treaty.
“Unless Russia honours its INF Treaty obligations through the verifiable destruction of all of its 9M729 systems, thereby returning to full and verifiable compliance before the U.S. withdrawal takes effect in six months, Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the treaty,” NATO said in a statement.