The United States officially withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on 2 August 2019, clearing the way for a new arms race with Russia — and throwing China into the mix. The treaty — concluded in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — limited the Cold War powers’ medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the demise of the treaty a dangerous step that “will likely heighten, not reduce, the threat posed by ballistic missiles.”
- U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says the treaty is effectively dead already because of Russian violations — a charge Russia denies. The White House launched the six-month procedure for leaving the treaty on February 1.
- The United States will remain in compliance with all of our obligations until August 2nd — and after that point in time, we will continue to pursue what is in our best interest
- In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on Moscow’s participation in the INF on July 3.
- Under the deal, missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310-3,420 miles) were eliminated. That paved the way for the mothballing of Russian SS-20 missiles and American Pershing missiles deployed in Europe.
- Even if European nations have expressed concerns about the consequence of a new arms race, NATO has endorsed the U.S. position, saying Russia’s 9M729 missile had violated the INF agreement. Moscow insists the new projectile has a maximum range of 480 kilometers — within INF parameters.
- The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.