In a move which was heralded late last year but which has been on the back-burner amid the Mueller investigation and the government shutdown, Donald Trump’s White House has this week confirmed that the US will be suspending their iconic Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, announced that the decision had been made with regard to Russia’s missile arsenal. If, within six months, no action has been taken by Russia to destroy its intermediate-range arsenal, the US will choose to terminate the agreement completely.
U.S. announces withdrawal from nuclear pact with Russia [video]
Russia, however, has remained steadfast when it comes to detailing their missile operation, according to the New York Times. Russian officials have continued to assert that a missile they reportedly have in their possession will not fly far enough to breach conditions as agreed. However, the US – under Trump rule – has continued to assert that Russia continues to flout such rules.
The treaty has been in place to restrict actions on both sides. The US itself has been frozen from acting against supposed threats from China. China’s own arsenal has grown considerably since the treaty was first drawn up in 1987. Alongside Pompeo’s announcement, NATO backed the decision made by the US. “The United States is taking this action in response to the significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security,” NATO secretary general Jen Stoltenberg advised.
NATO To Continue Working With Moscow Regarding INF Treaty Violations [video]
Russia, however, are more concerned that the US are looking for reasons to revoke the treaty. “On the whole, the reluctance of the Americans to listen to reason and to hold any kind of substantive talks with us shows that Washington decided to crush the treaty a long time ago,” Dmitri Peskov, speaking on behalf of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, advised press.
The decision to halt the treaty is being praised by some – with regard to Russia’ supposed ongoing missile development – while criticized by others, concerned that the US’ ongoing military developments are being lined up to help combat China’s own progress. The decision has been met with criticism in the Senate on behalf of Trump critics.
“We hope they’ll come back into compliance,” Pompeo advised of Russia. “There’s no mistaking that the Russians have chosen not to comply with this treaty and present the risk of continued arms growth in a way that they had committed to, back when they signed this treaty, that they would not do.” Where will the frozen treaty lead? Let’s wait and see.
US, Russia Revamp Nuclear Weapons As INF Treaty Is Abandoned [video]