Trump Administration Begins Withdrawal From Nuclear Missile Pact With Russia

The Trump administration has announced that it’s formally withdrawing from a key agreement with Russia that has kept the development of nuclear missiles in check since the days of the Cold War. The pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, has banned ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 kilometers and 5,000 kilometers since it was signed in 1987. The U.S. has accused Russia of violating the treaty with the development of a new missile—a charge that the Kremlin denies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early December that Washington would give Moscow 60 days to destroy the missile—that deadline expires Saturday. Trump announced the withdrawal in a statement Friday morning, saying: “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other.” Leaving the pact will allow the Trump administration to counter the fear that China, which is not restricted by the 1987 treaty, has gained a significant military advantage, but also leaves European allies at risk. Last-ditch talks this week to save the treaty failed.


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