NATO allies say Russia’s SSC-8 missile system violates the INF Treaty (Picture: VGTRK).
Russia

Russia Withdrawing From Nuclear Arms Treaty Following US Move

Russia has suspended its involvement in the Cold War-era treaty following the withdrawal from the US.

NATO allies say Russia’s SSC-8 missile system violates the INF Treaty (Picture: VGTRK).

NATO allies say Russia’s SSC-8 missile system violates the INF Treaty (Picture: VGTRK).

President Vladimir Putin said Russia will follow in the footsteps of the United States and abandon a centrepiece nuclear arms treaty.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 310 and 3,100 miles.

However, Mr Putin said Moscow will only deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles if the US does so.

"We will respond quid pro quo," Mr Putin said.

"Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participation in the treaty and we will do the same.

"They have announced they will conduct research and development and we will act accordingly," Mr Putin added.

He was speaking after the US announced on Friday that it was pulling the plug on the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) over alleged Russian violations.

Moscow denies any breaches and accused the US of making false accusations in order to justify its withdrawal.

On 16 July 2018, President Trump met with President Putin in Helsinki (Picture: PA).
On 16 July 2018, President Trump met with President Putin in Helsinki (Picture: PA).

Following the US notice of withdrawal from the treaty in six months, Mr Putin said that Russia will do the same.

He ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons but emphasised that Russia will not deploy them in Europe or elsewhere unless the US does so.

Russia's foreign minister said the US withdrawal from the pivotal pact has further upset strategic stability.

NATO said Russia is in breach of the treaty, saying that 'unless the country honours its obligations', the country will "bear sole responsibility for the end of the treaty".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early December that Washington would give Moscow 60 days to return to compliance before it gave formal notice of withdrawal, with actual withdrawal taking place six months later.