Published: Sat, August 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

US Leaves INF Treaty, Says Russia 'Soley Responsible'

US Leaves INF Treaty, Says Russia 'Soley Responsible'

The two countries ended the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987, after the USA accused Russian Federation of developing and fielding weapons that violated the treaty, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a Friday statement.

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov earlier called on the USA to implement a moratorium on deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles, now that the deal is dead.

The Trump administration issued formal protests that the new Russian missile had been tested at ranges prohibited under the treaty.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement Friday after announcing in February that US participation in the pact was being suspended.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has raised fears the collapse of the treaty could "heighten the threat of a nuclear arms race".

The U.S. says that Russian Federation was in violation of the treaty by deploying "multiple battalions" of a cruise missile throughout the country, including in western Russian Federation, which gives the country the ability to strike European targets.

The US initially announced in February that this would take place on August 2. Washington has complained for years that the arms control playing field was unfair. In retaliation, Putin fired off accusations of his own, dubiously claiming that the United States had also violated the treaty.

Ryabkov also questioned North Atlantic Treaty Organisation promises not to deploy nuclear missiles in Europe.

If it is not extended or replaced, "there will be no legally binding limits on the world's two largest strategic arsenals for the first time since 1972", according to The Arms Control Association, a Washington, D.C. -based nonprofit.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017. "The US representatives were hypocritically hiding behind the ideas that the INF Treaty is out of date and needs to include other countries", the ministry emphasized. "In terms of nuclear [weapons], China is much lower, but we would certainly want to include China at some point".

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the moratorium request was "not a credible offer" and alleged Russian Federation keeps building missiles.

"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 Russian Federation misrepresents its actions", Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the Security Council stakeout at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Aug. 1, 2019.

The German lawmakers' statements come in the wake of the formal USA withdrawal from the INF Treaty on 2 August 2019, which was carried out under the pretext of alleged Russian violations of it and reports that the Pentagon would be conducting a test of a new non-INF compliant missile within weeks or months. "We have held up our treaty obligations".

Pompeo said "Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system".

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg dismissed Russia's moratorium request on Friday, saying it was "not a credible offer" as he said Moscow had already deployed illegal missiles.

When Reagan and Gorbachev came together at the White House to sign the landmark INF treaty, the USA president began by saying, "This ceremony and the treaty we are signing today are both excellent examples of the rewards of patience".

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