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The United States announced today that it is withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty because of numerous and long-standing violations by Russia.
[Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo explained that Russia has been violating the treaty for years, and despite those violations, the U.S. has attempted to maintain the agreement. “To this day, Russia remains in material breach of its treaty obligations not to produce, possess, or flight test a ground-launched intermediate cruise missile system with a range between 500 and 5500 kilometers,” Pompeo explained. “We have raised Russia’s noncompliance with Russian officials, including at the highest levels of government, more than 30 times, yet Russia continues to deny that its missile system is noncompliant and violates the treaty,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said Russia’s violation of the treaty has compromised U.S. security interests. “It’s our duty to respond appropriately,” Pompeo said. “When an agreement is so brazenly disregarded, and our security is so openly threatened, we must respond.”
The announcement comes one day ahead of the 60-day deadline the U.S. gave Russia to return to compliance with the treaty.
The treaty calls for a six month period following this announcement for the withdrawal to be completed.
Though the announcement mentions a specific “a prohibited missile system,” it does not say what that missile system is. I suspect it might be the hypersonic missile the Russians have tested and say they will deploy this year.