U.S. suspends obligations under INF missile treaty

By WND Staff

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President Trump on Friday confirmed the United States is suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia because of “violations.”

“For far too long, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad,” the president said in a statement.

“Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in six months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment.”

Trump said America’s NATO Allies “fully support us, because they understand the threat posed by Russia’s violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued there’s no point to an agreement if one side is unilaterally ignoring its obligations.

The agreement has been a centerpiece of security across Europe since the Cold War, officials have explained.

But the president has signaled for some time the pullout was looming, explaining that Moscow has been in violation since 2014.

The announcement begins a period of 180 days to finish the withdrawal, unless Russia returns to compliance with the 1987 agreement by destroying its offending hardware.

The missiles covered by the deal are ground-based, nuclear-tipped, cruise-type weapons. Their range is from about 300 to about 3,000 miles, which makes Europe their target.

Russia was given until Feb. 2 to comply, according to Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.

On Thursday, meetings with Russian officials confirmed there was no progress.

Trump said the United States “has fully adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions.”

“We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other. We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct,” he said.

“My administration remains committed to effective arms control that advances United States, allied, and partner security, is verifiable and enforceable, and includes partners that fulfill their obligations. For arms control to effectively contribute to national security, all parties must faithfully implement their obligations.

“We stand ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that meet these criteria, and, importantly, once that is done, develop, perhaps for the first time ever, an outstanding relationship on economic, trade, political, and military levels. This would be a fantastic thing for Russia and the United States, and would also be great for the world.”

CNN reported its experts believe the move could make the world a more dangerous place.

“The prospect of the INF Treaty’s dissolution was one factor in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists January 24 decision to keep its iconic Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight, as close to the symbolic point of annihilation as it has been since 1953, at the height of the Cold War,” CNN said.

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