US, Russia pull out of Cold War-era pact
Both sides had signalled intentions to pull out of the treaty for months, trading accusations of breaking the terms of the deal
Bangkok: The United States and Russia ripped up a Cold War-era missile pact on Friday in a move that raised the spectre of an arms race between the global superpowers. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington's formal withdrawal in a prepared statement at a regional forum in Bangkok, minutes after Russia pronounced the treaty to be "dead". Both sides had signalled their intention to pull out of the treaty for months, trading accusations of breaking the terms of the deal. "Russia is solely responsible for the treaty's demise," Pompeo said in a statement. Shortly before Pompeo's announcement, Russia's foreign ministry in Moscow said the deal had been terminated at the "at the initiative of the US". But deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also urged the US to implement a moratorium on deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles after leaving the INF.
Washington has for years accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty - claims that NATO has backed up. "Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system," Pompeo said, referring to the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile. The pact was signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
NATO blames Russia
NATO blamed Russia on Friday for the demise of the INF treaty and vowed to respond in a "measured and responsible way" to Moscow's deployment of a cruise missile. "Russia bears sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty," NATO said, adding, "A situation whereby the United States fully abides by the Treaty, and Russia does not, is not sustainable."
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