Trump Plans to Pull Out of Nuclear Weapons Pact With Russia


U.S. President Donald Trump says his intention to scrap a landmark arms control agreement Russian Federation follows years of violations by Moscow in developing prohibited weapons, and "we're not going to be the only one to adhere to it".

Konstatin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, said on Facebook that a USA withdrawal from the treaty would mean "mankind is facing full chaos in the nuclear weapons sphere".

The Guardian reported that the demise of the INF is likely the brainchild of national security adviser John Bolston, "a longstanding opponent of arms control treaties", and that he and National Security Council arms control adviser Tim Morrison are also pushing for the end of the 2010 New Start agreement that limits the USA and Russian Federation to 1550 deployed strategic nuclear missiles. "They have been violating it for many years", Trump said Saturday after a rally in Elko, Nevada.

"Our close and long-term ally of course is the USA and we will be absolutely resolute with the United States in hammering home a clear message that Russian Federation needs to respect the treaty obligation that it signed", he said during a visit to NY.

In 2017, the head of US Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, told Congress that approximately 95% of China's missile force would violate the INF Treaty if they were part of the agreement.

Maas said Trump's move is "regrettable", the treaty was "an important pillar of our European security architecture" and a pullout "raises hard questions for us and Europe".

However, Russia denies the accusations.

Corker also said: "We've also heard that maybe they want to end the New Start treaty".

While Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that a unilateral withdrawal by the United States would be "very dangerous" and lead to a "military-technical" retaliation. In Moscow, he's expected to meet the Russian defense and foreign ministers as a follow-up to Trump's meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July.

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The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed in 1987, mandated the elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries. Russian Federation denied it had violated the terms of the agreement.

"But Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement".

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that for 30 years the treaty had been a pillar of Europe's security architecture.

Trump didn't provide details about violations. "I doubt very much that the U.S. will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty".

Trump's plan also is causing jitters in Germany, site of peace protests in the early 1980s against the stationing of US intermediate-range nuclear missiles to counter the threat of Soviet SS-20s.

The two countries have repeatedly accused each other of violating the treaty.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense ministers this month discussed concerns that Russian Federation was developing a medium-range ballistic missile.

The Russians and Chinese have suggested it might be time to ease up on sanctions, but that is not the USA view and "we will not relent", said a senior administration official.

In the past, the Obama administration worked to convince Moscow to respect the INF treaty, but made little progress.