United States announces withdrawal from landmark nuke treaty with Russian Federation

United States announces withdrawal from landmark nuke treaty with Russian Federation

United States announces withdrawal from landmark nuke treaty with Russian Federation

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Friday said that the United States has so far failed to present any evidence to support allegations that Moscow has violated the INF treaty.

The Donald Trump administration has announced that the USA is withdrawing from a landmark nuclear arms control pact with Russian Federation, a move seen as exacerbating the risk of an worldwide arms race.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono suggested on Friday that if the United States does withdraw from the INF Treaty, it should be replaced with another deal that would cover not only Russian Federation and the USA, but China and other countries concerned as well, NHK broadcast reported.

FILE - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov speaks at a conference on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons in Beijing, Jan. 30, 2019.

"This is a massive mistake", said David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, of the United States announcement Friday.

It was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500km (310 miles) and 5,500km (3,400 miles).

United States officials rejected criticism, pointing out that they have tried in over 30 diplomatic engagements to get Russian Federation to comply with the treaty.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued there's no point to an agreement if one side is unilaterally ignoring its obligations. "They have begun to move towards that risk that you actually just identified". Unless it verifiably destroys all of its 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems, "Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the Treaty", NATO said. "But we have to take note that the INF treaty is being violated by the Russian side". Whether the USA will now respond by deploying INF noncompliant missiles in Asia is unclear.

Already, the White House is signaling the steps it will take.

On a briefing call with reporters, a senior Trump administration official offered a warning: "This is Russia's last chance". We've had conversations about the nature of these systems. "We categorically refute Washington's methods and means".

U.S. officials say that some 95 percent of China´s ballistic and cruise missiles, a core part of Beijing´s defense strategy, would violate the INF Treaty if China were obliged by it. "The United States therefore will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty, effective February 2nd".

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"We have yet to exhaust diplomatic options", Tierney said in a statement. "The consequences of scrapping this agreement could put us back decades".

"The fear is to see proliferation, to see nuclear weapons developed, which are weapons that are unsafe for the entire territory of Europe", Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said.

US President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that he will announce next week the date and location of his next summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. And they point to Trump's hostility to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the United Nations and other structures that have underpinned global security since World War II.

Ryabkov also suggested other arms control agreements, like the New START Treaty, which limits both countries to fewer than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, could be in jeopardy. Many wondered if other global agreements might soon fall as well.

The INF treaty, signed in 1987, has been a centerpiece of superpower arms control since the Cold War.

"Russia's violation puts millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk". Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican did at a Senate hearing this week on worldwide threats.

"Because we have been adhering to this treaty for so long", the official said, "we are some time away from being in a position to know what we might want to deploy, where we might want to deploy".

The President said: "We can not be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other".

Peskov acknowledged past year that "there are bottlenecks" but said withdrawal from the treaty would result in an escalation that would "make the world more unsafe".

Countryman added that "we should be focused on the longer-term implications" and in the meantime, "have a serious debate in Congress about the right response" and whether the U.S. is still committed to nuclear nonproliferation.

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