Trump says United States is withdrawing from nuclear treaty with Russian Federation

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"We simply can not tolerate this kind of abuse of arms control", the official said. "The US ... is voluntarily fighting with one hand tied behind its back". Leaving the treaty with Russian Federation would allow the United States to counter the Chinese, but it's unclear how the Pentagon might try to do that.

"If there's an arms race going on, Russia's off and running, and we're sitting on the sidelines playing with our shoelaces", said Matthew Kroenig, a foreign-policy hawk and an expert on nuclear weapons policy at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision on Friday as the Trump administration maintained that the Russian government has been unwilling to admit that a missile it has deployed near European borders violates the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

"For years, Russian Federation has violated the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty without remorse", he said.

"Allies fully support this action".

"All NATO allies agree that Russia's violation is a material breach of the treaty and that the United States is in compliance with the treaty", Hutchison said.

"Russia faces a choice: It can either keep its noncompliant missile system or it can have the INF treaty, but it cannot have both", she said.

"If it does come to a cancellation today, we will do everything possible to use the six-month window to hold further talks", she said. "Then the United States would unsuspend", the official said.

"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".

Analysts have said the long-running dispute is aggravating the worst US-Russia tensions since the Cold War ended in 1991 and fear a collapse of the INF Treaty could undermine other agreements aimed at capping the spread of nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the pulling out of a major arms-control treaty with Russian Federation, citing alleged violations by the country; Rich Edson reports from the State Department.

Thompson and Ryabkov said afterwards that the two countries had failed to bridge their differences.

"Russia will feel more legitimized to continue what it's doing now, but also increasing some of its efforts on missile technology and deploying them", said a European official.

European officials are concerned about the treaty's possible collapse, fearful that Europe could again become an arena for nuclear-armed, intermediate-range missile buildups by the United States and Russian Federation.

-Russian relations, which already are arguably at the lowest point in decades, and debate among US allies in Europe over whether Russia's alleged violations warrant a countermeasure such as deployment of an equivalent American missile in Europe.

Moscow, for its part, has maintained that its ground-launched cruise missile known as the 9M729 does not violate the agreement.

An American withdrawal has been expected for months, and an announcement is expected later Friday.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington think tank, said he sees little chance the treaty can be saved.

NATO-Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Russian Federation showed no sign as late as last week that it was willing to return to compliance in talks with allied ambassadors.

  • Jon Douglas