Eli Ridder | Report
The United States is suspending a crucial Cold War-era arms control treaty with Russia that bans certain ground-launched cruise missiles, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday morning.
The move has been expected for several months, as Washington blamed Moscow for not following the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces agreement — with the official suspension set for Saturday.
Pompeo’s announcement starts a 180-day clock to complete the withdrawal unless Russia returns to compliance to the pact beforehand.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been considering suspending the INF treaty as Washington and European powers have accused Moscow of noncompliance since 2014.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization released a statement saying its members “fully support” the U.S. suspension of their participation in the treaty.
However, some conflict analysts and military observers fear the U.S. leaving the treaty could trigger another Cold War arms race.
“Make no mistake. The dissolution of the #INFTreaty will result in a nuclear arms race unlike anything we’ve seen since the late cold war era,” one analyst for the non-partisan Strategic Sentinel said on Twitter, adding that “every step backwards is a step closer.”
Canada is one of the founders of the post-World War 2 NATO alliance, which we founded to counter Russian aggression and to solidify the allies in 1949.
“For years, Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty without remorse,” Secretary Pompeo said.
Speaking from the State Department briefing room, the secretary of state said the United States had provided “ample time” for Russia to return to compliance with the pact.
“Russia’s violations put millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk,” he said.
“It is our duty to respond appropriately.”
More details to follow.