The United Stated of America (USA) and Russia have suspended a key cold-war nuclear arms treaty.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin officially suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement on Saturday (2nd February, 2019) following a move by the US to ditch the same a day earlier.
The two nations’ accuse each other of violating the treating that has been in force since 1987.
President Donald Trump announced on 20 October 2018 that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the treaty, citing Russian non-compliance. The U.S. formally suspended the treaty on 1 February 2019.
In explaining his decision, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Moscow of violating the INF treaty with “impunity” by deploying banned missiles.
Russia on the other hand, said Russia would seek to develop medium-range missiles in response to what were similar projects in the US.
The INF agreement was signed by US and Soviet Union (USSR) in 1987 by the then US President Ronal Reagan and soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The INF Treaty eliminated all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short medium-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range).
The treaty ended a super-power build-up of nuclear war heads that frightened Europe and other western allies.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), says it fully supports the decision but urged Russia to come back to the treaty.
“We urge Russia to use the remaining six months to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty,” said NATO, formed by Western nations in the wake of World War II as a hedge against Soviet military power in Europe.
NATO accused Russia of hoarding nuclear warheads especially the 9M729 ground launched missile systems that violate the treaty.
Last week, the UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned that “key components of the international arms control architecture are collapsing”.
The row now jeopardises the newly agreed second phase of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty. The START treaty seeks reduction of nuclear arms held by the US and Russia Federation.
START treaty expires in 2021. It was signed by Former Presidents Obama of US and Medvedev of Russia and came into force 5th February, 2011.
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