Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the INF Treaty was the beginning of the end of the arms race and the Cold War. "A new era has begun". President Donald Trump announced Friday the USA was suspending its obligations under the INF treaty as of Saturday and starting a process to withdraw in six months.
Russia's foreign affairs chief, Sergei Lavrov, also that Washington acted in "direct violation" of the 1987 deal.
President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a key nuclear weapons treaty was opposed by most people in the United States, including fellow members of his Republican Party, a new survey has shown.
The INF agreement forbids ground-launched, short- and intermediate-range missiles, but not those launched from the air or sea - which Russian Federation already has.
This will not start an arms race; one has been going on for 10 years at least.
"He's had a major role in killing four signature agreements", he says, listing those as former President Bill Clinton's agreed framework with North Korea, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty scrapped under President George W. Bush, the Iran deal, and now INF.
United States plans to build low-power nuclear weapons will sharply lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, according to both Russian and Western military experts, the Russian top diplomat emphasized. He also claimed that Russia's 9M729 missile violates the INF treaty which bans missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,400 miles.
The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the USA exit from the INF Treaty is another major element in breaking the system of worldwide agreements that to some extent limited the arms race. The missile, with a maximum range of at least 4,000 kilometers, can hit US bases in Guam from the Chinese mainland and is thus called a "Guam killer".
Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that his country will only deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles if Washington does so.
"The bigger worry for many of us now is that withdrawing from INF is the forerunner of Trump abandoning New START as well", Ambassador Vershbow says.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign affairs and security policy chief, had earlier called on the USA and Russian Federation to stick to the treaty. According to US military intelligence, only one test of the missile has been moderately successful to date.
What is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty?
China wants Russian Federation and the U.S.to remain in the treaty while arguing against expanding its scope or mandate to include Beijing's nuclear weapons program. Now, nothing prevents Russian Federation or the United States from deploying this destabilizing class of intermediate-range nuclear-armed missiles.
He said it was a contest Russian Federation would not win.
Shoigu on Tuesday told his ministry to develop the new weapons by adapting existing missiles to be launched from land.