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.”
  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on Moscow’s participation in the INF on July 3.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.

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