The U.S. has formally withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a missile reduction agreement signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement Friday after announcing in February that U.S. participation in the pact was being suspended.

The U.S. has been unhappy with what it asserts has been Russia’s lack of compliance with the treaty for years, dating back to the Obama administration — charges Moscow denies.

US United States Russia
Dec. 8, 1987 file photo shows President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev exchanging pens during the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signing ceremony in the White House East Room; Gorbachev’s translator, Pavel Palazhchenko, stands in the middle

Bob Daugherty / AP


Senior Trump administration officials put the blame for the U.S. pulling out of the pact squarely on Russia. 

In a statement, Pompeo said, “Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise. … The United States will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russia.” On Friday morning, Pompeo tweeted: “Treaties are worthless unless respected by all signatories.”

Pompeo, who is in Thailand for an Asian security conference, added, “The United States remains committed to effective arms control that advances U.S., allied, and partner security; is verifiable and enforceable; and includes partners that comply responsibly with their obligations.”

He took to Twitter, as well:

Although the U.S. has long considered Moscow a “serial violator” of the accord, the Trump administration officials pointed to a new finding that the Kremlin has been producing and fielding multiple battalions of the Novator 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile, placing some in western Russia, in striking distance of European targets. Its estimated range is 1,600 miles.

The officials say they believe “all of western Europe is within range of this missile system.” The officials say that poses a critical threat to the security of the U.S. and its allies, making the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty “unavoidable.”

The treaty has been a key component of European security.

According to the Reuters news service, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday, “We have proposed to the United States and other NATO countries that they weigh the possibility of declaring the same kind of moratorium on the deployment of short and intermediate range missiles as ours, like the one announced by Vladimir Putin.” Reuters cited Russia’s TASS news agency.

But The Associated Press said a senior administration official spoke on condition of anonymity told it that, with the U.S. now free to develop weapons systems that were previously banned, the Pentagon is planning a test flight of such a weapon in coming weeks.

The INF Treaty required the destruction of of a particular class of weapons, banning medium-range, ground-based missiles capable of carrying nuclear arms — with a range of 310 to 3,400 miles. After it was signed, the U.S. and Russia dismantled more than 2,600 missiles.

The Council on Foreign Relations says missiles in this class are particularly dangerous because they’re capable of reaching their targets in 10 minutes, allowing for very little response time and creating the potential for deadly mistakes.

Reporting by Sara Cook. Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

The House impeached Trump. What happens next?

The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump on Wednesday, the third time in history it has taken this action against a president. The Democratic-controlled House voted 230 to 197 (1 present) largely along party lines on the first article, abuse…

2020 Daily Trail Markers: CBS News to co-host debate in South Carolina

CBS News will be co-hosting a debate next year in Charleston, South Carolina with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute on February 25, 2020, at The Gaillard Center. Twitter is also a partner.  CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice says the debate…

Where are the new ideas in this Conservative Party leadership race?

This column is an opinion by Kory Teneycke. A former director of communications for prime minister Stephen Harper, he managed the recent Ontario PC Party Campaign and is currently a partner at Rubicon Strategy. Teneycke has declared he will remain neutral in…

Trump’s bid to shield his tax returns and finances, broad claims of presidential immunity head to Supreme Court

President Trump has long seen the Supreme Court as his best hope against what he considers vengeful congressional enemies and overzealous prosecutors, and on an extraordinary day of oral arguments Tuesday, he will begin to learn whether that confidence is…