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Trump Breaks Off Nuclear Treaty, Intends To Counter Missile Threat from Putin’s Russia

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The Trump administration has officially withdrawn from a Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

According to U.S. officials, the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, which then-President Ronald Reagan and then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed, was scrapped because Russia was in violation.

“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement announcing America’s withdrawal from the treaty.

“Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system,” he said.

The treaty prohibited both countries from possessing “ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 km (310-3,400 miles),” NPR reported, adding, “More than 2,600 missiles were destroyed by 1991.”

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The U.S. warned Russia that it would withdraw from the treaty if Russia did not start complying. According to Pompeo, it didn’t.

“Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system — the SSC-8 or 9M729 ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile,” Pompeo said in the statement.

“Russia alone is to blame for this situation,” a senior White House official told Fox News. “We have taken every opportunity — dozens and dozens of opportunities across two administrations – to bring Russia back into compliance.”

“It is clear that they are in material breach of the INF Treaty, which is, of course, not its only arms control violation. They are a serial violator of arms control agreements,” the official added. “This violation, however, represents a direct security threat to the United States and our allies.”

Do you think withdrawing from this treaty was the right move?

The Russians, for their part, have blamed the U.S. for the treaty’s collapse.

“By denouncing the INF Treaty, the United States confirmed its commitment to abolishing all international instruments that do not suit it for one reason or another. This leads to an actual dismantlement of the existing arms control architecture,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement of its own.

But the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has taken America’s side.

“Russia today remains in violation of the INF Treaty, despite years of U.S. and Allied engagement, including a final opportunity over six months to honour its Treaty obligations,” NATO said in a statement. “As a result, the United States decision to withdraw from the Treaty, a decision fully supported by NATO Allies, is now taking effect.”

“Russia bears sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty. We regret that Russia has shown no willingness and taken no demonstrable steps to return to compliance with its international obligations. A situation whereby the United States fully abides by the Treaty, and Russia does not, is not sustainable,” the statement continued.

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So, what comes next?

According to multiple reports, released from the treaty’s constraints, the U.S. plans to test weapons systems that were previously banned as part of an effort to counter the Russian threat.

The Associated Press reported: “The U.S. is planning a test flight of such a weapon in coming weeks, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the weapons development and spoke only on condition of anonymity.”

CNN appeared to confirm this report, citing a senior U.S. defense official.

The U.S. military is preparing “to test a new non-nuclear mobile-launched cruise missile developed specifically to challenge Moscow in Europe,” the report said.

“The Pentagon has been working on the new missile system’s very initial phases, which will lead to the first test in the coming weeks, the defense official said,” CNN said. “The official emphasized there is no formal program yet to develop the missile, because the INF treaty has been in effect.”

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