United States suspends arms control treaty with Russian Federation

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early December that Washington would give Moscow 60 days to return to compliance before it gave formal notice of withdrawal

Leaving the INF treaty would allow the Trump administration to counter the Chinese, but it's unclear how it would do that. Pompeo's announcement starts a 180-day clock to complete withdrawal unless Russian Federation returns to compliance with the 1987 agreement.

Back in 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty in the East Room at the White House.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a news briefing at the State Department in Washington on February 1, 2019. "I conclude that the United States was not expecting any decision and all this was a game made to cover their domestic decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty".

The State Department said Pompeo would make a public statement Friday morning, but it did not mention the topic.

NATO-Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Russian Federation showed no sign as late as last week that it was willing to return to compliance in talks with allied ambassadors. "We can not be the only country bound by a treaty".

"Moscow reserves the right to a corresponding reactions and response measures [following the US' withdrawal from the INF Treaty]".

Multiple news agencies also reported that the announcement was imminent. "The position of the American side is very tough and like an ultimatum".

The former Colonel added Washington remained open to further talks with Moscow about the treaty. Reif said the period between now and August, when the United States withdrawal would take effect, offers a last chance to save the treaty, but he sees little prospect of that happening.

US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters in October that if the 9M729 "became capable of delivering", then the Western military alliance would "be looking at the capability to take out a missile that could hit any of our countries in Europe and hit America".

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US President Donald Trump blamed the Russians for the demise of the Cold War-era pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

Russian Federation has hit back at America's accusations, admitting to the cruise missile but explaining its range means it is not covered by the treaty.

The prospect of USA withdrawal from the INF pact has stirred concern globally.

Moscow denies that the missile is violating the INF Treaty and accuses the United States in turn that it wants to abandon the pact so it can start a new arms race. "It's wasn't just Des Moines, Iowa".

The announcement came before a Saturday deadline for Russian Federation to destroy all of its ground-launched cruise missiles known as 9M729s, associated equipment and launchers.

"Russia will feel more legitimized to continue what it's doing now, but also increasing some of its efforts on missile technology and deploying them", said a European official.

"We believe that the treaty is needed". The dispute over INF has contributed to U.S. -Russia frictions, now at their worst since the Cold War ended in 1991 despite Trump's stated desire for better ties.

Pompeo and Trump said that USA allies in Europe were with them, with Trump's statement saying, "Our NATO Allies fully support us, because they understand the threat posed by Russia's violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations". Bolton has a much more clear-eyed view of Vladimir Putin and his imperial ambitions than Trump or his previous two predecessors had until they themselves got burned badly enough. What's more, "it has no strategy to prevent Russian Federation from building and fielding even more intermediate-range missiles in the absence of the agreement".

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