Russia and the United States has suspended an important nuclear weapons treaty on Saturday. This move has sparked many concerns of an arms budding race between the world’s two biggest nuclear power nations.
The withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty comes after Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, gave 60 days to Russia to come back into agreement with the terms of the nuclear weapons pact. Mike Pompeo also added that the agreement could be reversed if Russia came back into compliance. Pompeo said in a statement “Russia has not taken the necessary steps to return to compliance over the last 60 days. It remains in material breach of its obligations not to produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile system with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.”
Mike Pompeo added, “The United States has gone to tremendous lengths to preserve the INF Treaty, engaging with Russian officials more than 30 times in nearly six years to discuss Russia’s violation, including at the highest levels of government.”
President of Russia, Vladimir Putin claims that Moscow has not violated the treaty, but will start developing a new missile in the wake of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces’ suspension.
Putin on Saturday, during a televised meeting with foreign and defense ministers said that “The American partners have declared that they suspend their participation in the deal, we suspend it as well.” Putin also told that he would not deploy weapons to Europe and other regions unless the United States did so.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the year 1987. The treaty prohibited the development and deployment of ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges of 310 miles to 3,420 miles. The agreement has made each country to dismantle more than 2,500 projectiles and kept cruise missiles off the European continent for more than three decades.
United States President Donald Trump said on October that the U.S. would withdraw from the Cold War-era pact. The United States also personally sent the national security advisor John Bolton to deliver the decision to the Kremlin. Russia, Donald Trump said, has violated the arms agreement by fielding and building the banned weapons for many years.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization has also called on Moscow to “return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty,” NATO foreign ministers said in a joint statement.
One of the Researcher at the Federation of American Scientists, Abigail Stowe-Thurston, said “Withdrawing without exhausting all available diplomatic options to resolve the compliance dispute makes it more difficult for Washington to control the narrative around the collapse of the treaty, and allows Russia to pursue the development and deployment of intermediate-range systems without restriction.” She went on to add “Now that the administration is following through on its decision to withdraw, it is Congress’s responsibility to decide whether to fund the development and deployment of similar systems.”