Putin signs bill to suspend Russia's participation in nuclear treaty

  04 July 2019    Read: 980
Putin signs bill to suspend Russia

Move comes after Trump announced US would quit Cold War-era pact banning production of intermediate-range missiles

Vladimir Putin has signed a bill suspending Russia's participation in a pivotal nuclear arms pact with the United States.

The Russian president’s decree formalises his country’s departure from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the US announced its withdrawal earlier this year.

Donald Trump’s administration gave notice in February of its intention to pull out on 2 August, citing Moscow's development of a missile that was in breach of the pact.

Russia has denied any violations and accused the US of breaking the accord.

In a tit-for-tat response, the Kremlin followed Washington in announcing in February it would also suspend its INF treaty obligations.

The intermediate-range weapons were seen as particularly destabilising as they take a short time to reach their targets compared to the intercontinental ballistic missiles.

That would leave practically no time for decision-makers to gauge how to respond, raising the likelihood of a global nuclear conflict over a false launch warning.

Mr Gorbachev has said it was "mistake" for Mr Trump to withdraw from the treaty, telling Russia's Interfax news agency last year: “Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements ... Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?,” 

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