President Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty beginning Saturday, Feb 2 due to unlawful conduct by Russia.
“Tomorrow, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in 6 months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment,” President Trump said in a statement. “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”
While the United States has adhered to the treaty since its signing, Russia has continued to develop and test missiles in direct violation of the terms of the agreement and has used half-truths and other misrepresentations to hide their actions.
“We will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions,” Trump said. “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty.”
According to the statement, members of NATO support the president’s actions “because they understand the threat posed by Russia’s violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations.”
The U.S. begins the process of leaving the treaty just 60-days after threatening to do so if Russia did not return to verifiable compliance with the agreement.