U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday morning that the Trump administration is suspending the nuclear treaty between the United States and Russia.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 1, 2019
The ending of the treaty — formally called the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — will increase fears of a new nuclear arms race. Pompeo and other U.S. officials have discounted that risk and said it is not likely to happen.
A spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday that Russia greets the news “with much regret.”
Jennifer Epstein from Bloomberg News tweeted a formal statement from Donald Trump explaining the decision:
Full Trump statement on beginning the process tomorrow of withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty pic.twitter.com/NsvNucK4nU
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 1, 2019
The treaty has been the most important element of superpower arms control since the Cold War, and many experts are concerned now that if the treaty ends then arms control will also end.
The following statement on the impact of withdrawal from the treaty was issued by the Associated Press, and reported in the Guardian:
“An American withdrawal, which has been expected for months, would follow years of unresolved dispute over Russian compliance with the pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty. It was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 kilometers (310 miles) and 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles). Russia denies that it has been in violation.”
“U.S. officials also have expressed worry that China, which is not party to the 1987 treaty, is gaining a significant military advantage in Asia by deploying large numbers of missiles with ranges beyond the treaty’s limit. Leaving the INF treaty would allow the Trump administration to counter the Chinese, but it’s unclear how it would do that.”
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early December that Washington would give Moscow 60 days to return to compliance before it gave formal notice of withdrawal, with actual withdrawal taking place six months later. The 60-day deadline expires on Saturday, and the administration is expected to say as early as Friday that efforts to work out a compliance deal have failed and that it would suspend its compliance with the treaty’s terms.”
— New Day (@NewDay) February 1, 2019