UPDATE: The Russian Foreign Ministry commented on the move by saying that the US had provided no evidence confirming the Russian violations of the INF Treaty besides “tweets”.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Senate’s International Affairs Committee said that Washington merely “confirmed its determination to deal a final blow to yet another important pillar of the international arms control system.” He added that this puts US allies in Europe into a very dangerous situation.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also has what to say:
Yet another withdrawal from an accord by the Trump administration; this time the #INFTreaty. It's not just the #JCPOA or Iran: Seems this clique is allergic to anything w/ US signature on it. Message: Any deal with US govt is not worth the ink; even treaties ratified by Congress.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 1, 2019
The US has suspended its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on February 1.
He added that it may return to the agreement in 180 days if Russia meets its demands – the “verifiably” destruction of “INF-violating missiles, their launchers and associated equipment”.
“The US… suspends its obligations under the INF Treaty effective February 2,” Pompeo told journalists. “If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty within the six-month period by verifiably destroying its INF-violating missiles, their launchers and associated equipment, the treaty will terminate.”
Pompeo claimed that Russia is “brazenly” and “shamelessly” violating the agreement. He added that Russia should change its course from what he called “destabilizing activity not only on this issue but on other issues as well.”
The United States has adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms unless Russia comes into verifiable and enforceable compliance.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 1, 2019
The White House website released “Statement from the President Regarding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty“:
For far too long, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad. Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in 6 months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment. Our NATO Allies fully support us, because they understand the threat posed by Russia’s violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations.
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 Russia misrepresents its actions. We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other. We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.
My Administration remains committed to effective arms control that advances United States, allied, and partner security, is verifiable and enforceable, and includes partners that fulfill their obligations. For arms control to effectively contribute to national security, all parties must faithfully implement their obligations. We stand ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that meet these criteria, and, importantly, once that is done, develop, perhaps for the first time ever, an outstanding relationship on economic, trade, political, and military levels. This would be a fantastic thing for Russia and the United States, and would also be great for the world.
Besides common US accusations against Russia, Trump’s statement includes an interesting thing – the official declaration that the US will “move forward” with openly developing military capabilities violating the arms reduction agreements existing between Moscow and Washington.
Earlier, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that many pieces of “evidence” that the US has put forward to support its accusations against Russia were in fact “fabricated.” Russia also held a briefing revealing extra details about the 9M729 missile of the Iskander-M system in earlier in January. The Russian side said that the missile does not violate the INF Treaty. The US says it does.
At the same time, Washington ignores Moscow’s concerns that the US missile defense shield in Europe has a double purpose and that the US is testing weapons prohibited under the INF over the last 15 years.
Most of experts agree that Washington’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a dangeruous putting Europe at risk of the total destruction in case of any conflict involving the US and Russia.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Reasons Behind U.S. Initiative To Terminate INF Treaty
- US Representatives Refuse To Attend Demonstration Of Russia’s 9M729 Missile That Allegedly Violates INF