Washington: The United States has said it will suspend participation in the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia on Saturday and may even withdraw from the treaty within six months if Russia fails to comply with the accord, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Friday.
“Russia has refused to take any steps to return to real and verifiable compliance over these 60 days,” The Hill quoted Pompeo as saying.
“The United States will, therefore, suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty effective February 2, and we will provide Russia and the other treaty parties with formal notice that the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty effective in six months pursuant to Article 15 of the treaty,” Pompeo said.
In his statement, Trump pledged the US would “move forward with developing our own military response options” to Russia’s violations and work with allies to “deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”
“For arms control to effectively contribute to national security, all parties must faithfully implement their obligations,” Trump said.
“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.”
The New York Times on Friday quoted Pompeo as stating that Moscow has deployed its missiles near European borders in violation of the 1987 Treaty. The Trump government has however insisted Moscow to destroy the missile.
“Countries must be held accountable when they break the rules,” Pompeo said.
“Russia has jeopardized the United States’ security interests,” Pompeo added, “and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it.”
In defiance, Russian President Vladimir Putin had counter accused the US of further violating the Treaty by deploying rocket launchers for antiballistic missile systems in Europe.
A press statement released by the US Department of State said that for years, Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty without remorse.
“Russia’s violation puts millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk. It aims to put the United States at a military disadvantage, and it undercuts the chances of moving our bilateral relationship in a better direction. It’s our duty to respond appropriately. When an agreement is so brazenly disregarded and our security is so openly threatened, we must respond,” the statement read.
“We did that last December when the United States, with strong support from all of our NATO allies, formally declared Russia in material breach of the treaty. I also then provided notice that unless Russia returned to full and verifiable compliance within 60 days, we would suspend our obligation under that treaty. We provided Russia with an ample window of time to mend its ways and for Russia to honour its commitment. Tomorrow that time runs out. Russia has refused to take any steps to return real and verifiable compliance over these 60 days.”
“The United States will, therefore, suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty effective February 2nd. We will provide Russia and the other treaty parties with formal notice that the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty effective in six months, pursuant to Article 15 of the treaty,” Pompeo added.