International

U.S. formally withdraws from INF arms treaty

Mike Pompeo   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The U.S. and Russia ripped up a Cold War-era missile pact on Friday in a move that raised the spectre of an arms race between the global superpowers.

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington’s formal withdrawal in a prepared statement at the ASEAN meet in Bangkok, minutes after Russia pronounced the treaty to be “dead”.

Both sides had signalled their intention to pull out of the treaty for months, trading accusations of breaking the terms of the deal.

“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement issued at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers' meeting.

Shortly before Pompeo's announcement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry in Moscow said the deal had been terminated at the “at the initiative of the U.S.”.

But deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov also urged the U.S. to implement a moratorium on deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles after leaving the INF.

Washington has for years accused Russia of developing a new type of missile, the 9M729, which it says violates the treaty — claims that NATO has backed up.

The missile has a range of about 1,500 kilometres according to NATO, though Moscow says it can only travel 480 kilometres.

The INF treaty limits the use of missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

“Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its noncompliant missile system,” Pompeo said, referring to the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile.

The 29-country transatlantic NATO alliance rallied behind Washington on Friday, blaming Russia for the treaty's demise and vowing to respond.

“We regret that Russia has shown no willingness and taken no demonstrable steps to return to compliance with its international obligations,” NATO said in a statement.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 12:42:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-formally-withdraws-from-inf-arms-treaty/article28800961.ece

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