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US pulls out of nuclear treaty with Russia that's been a centerpiece of arms control since Cold War

The withdrawal follows years of unresolved dispute over Russian compliance with the 1987 pact.

THE US HAS announced that it’s pulling out from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia that’s been a centerpiece of nuclear arms control since the Cold War.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US will suspend its obligations to the treaty tomorrow, and that if Russia doesn’t come into compliance, the treaty “will terminate.”

Protest against the dissolution of the INF Treaty Demonstrators protesting against the imminent end of the INF disarmament agreement between Russia and the USA in Berlin today. Source: DPA/PA Images

Minutes after the US announcement, NATO nations urged “Russia to use the remaining six months to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty.”

NATO members say the military alliance will continue to review the security implications of Russian missile development. They say NATO will take any “steps necessary to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of the Alliance’s overall deterrence and defense posture.”

NATO says that if Moscow fails to destroy all new missile systems that Washington insists violate the treaty, “Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the treaty.”

Russia denies violating the treaty.

The American withdrawal had been expected for months. It follows years of unresolved dispute over Russian compliance with the 1987 pact, which bans certain ground-launched cruise missiles. 

The treaty was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 kilometers and 5,000 kilometers. Its demise has some analysts worried about a new arms race.

US officials also have expressed concern that China, which isn’t part of the treaty, is deploying large numbers of missiles in Asia that the US can’t counter because it’s bound by the treaty.  

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Associated Press

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