Putin suspends Russia's participation in INF deal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 05, 2019

Putin suspends Russia's participation in INF deal

US first moved to ditch the arms treaty in Feb

President Vladimir Putin yesterday officially suspended Russia's participation in a key Cold War-era arms treaty, after the US first moved to ditch the INF deal.

Putin "signed a decree regarding the suspension of Russia's participation in the agreement between the USSR and the US," the Kremlin said in a statement.

The move was taken following "a violation of the United States of its obligations under the treaty," it said.

Moscow and Washington have accused one another of breaching the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces agreement concluded between the US and the former Soviet Union in 1987.

US President Donald Trump said in February that Washington would start a process to withdraw from the deal within six months.

Putin responded by announcing Russia would suspend its involvement.

He said Russia would seek to develop medium-range missiles in response to what he said were similar projects in the US, raising the spectre of a new arms race.

Brokered by US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the INF treaty ended a superpower buildup of warheads that had frightened Europe.

It banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (300 to 3,400 miles).

The deal addressed Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals, but put no restrictions on other major military actors such as China.

Nato has said that US allies "fully support" its withdrawal from the pact, insisting that Russia's 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems violate the treaty.

European leaders have voiced fears over the consequences of the treaty's demise and called on Russia to address concerns before the US formally leaves in August.

The Obama administration had complained to Russia about its new missile but had not threatened to leave the treaty.

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