United States President Donald Trump has announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banning nuclear-capable missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
“Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement. We’re going to pull out,” Trump said in a statement on February 1.
The White House statement said “violations must have consequences. Nearly 6 years of diplomacy and more than 30 meetings have failed to convince Russia to return to compliance with the INF Treaty. Enough is enough.”
“At President Trump’s direction, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty effective February 2, 2019,” the White House said. “The United States will also deliver formal notice on February 2, 2019, to Russia and other Treaty Parties, that the United States will withdraw from the INF Treaty in 6 months.”
It added that only Russia’s complete and verifiable destruction of its INF-violating missiles, their launchers, and associated equipment can save the INF Treaty.
US State Department Secretary Michael R. Pompeo said Russia has jeopardized the United States security interest, and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it.
“If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty within this six-month period by verifiably destroying its INF-violating missiles, their launchers, and associated equipment, the treaty will terminate,” he said. “The United States is hopeful that we can put our relationship with Russia back on a better footing, but the onus is on Russia to change course from a pattern of destabilizing activity, not just on this issue but on many others as well. The United States stands ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that advance U.S. and allied and partners’ security, and are verifiable and enforceable.”