United States President Donald Trump on Saturday said that his country will pull out from a Cold-War nuclear treaty, reported CNN. Signed in 1987, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty mandated the elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.
The treaty was signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev. It required both countries to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between around 500 km and 5,500 km.
“Russia has violated the agreement,” said Trump, talking to reporters after a rally in Nevada. “They have been violating it for many years.”
Former President Barack Obama should have withdrawn from the treaty earlier, said Trump. “We are the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we have honoured the agreement,” he said. “But Russia has not, unfortunately, honoured the agreement. So we are going to terminate the agreement.”
The US administration has claimed that Russia is developing and has deployed a ground-launched system in breach of the treaty, Reuters reported. This could allow it to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice. However, Russia has denied any such violation. Trump said the US will develop such weapons unless Russia and China, which is not a party to the treaty, agree to stop such a development.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who will visit Moscow later this week, is expected to inform Russia about the withdrawal.
Reacting to the development, an unidentified official in the Russian foreign ministry said that the US withdrawal was motivated by a dream of a single global superpower, AFP reported. “The main motive is a dream of a unipolar world,” the official told RIA Novosti state news agency. “Will it come true? No.”
The official said Russia has “many times publicly denounced the US policy course towards dismantling the nuclear deal”. “This decision is part of the US policy course to withdraw from those international legal agreements that place equal responsibilities on it and its partners and make vulnerable its concept of its own ‘exceptionalism’,” said the official.
Russian senator Alexei Pushkov said that the move was “the second powerful blow against the whole system of strategic stability in the world”, with the first being Washington’s 2001 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.” “And again the initiator of the dissolution of the agreement is the US,” he wrote on Twitter, accusing the US of taking back the world to the time of the Cold War.