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US formally withdraws from 1987 INF nuclear treaty with Russia

US formally withdraws from 1987 INF nuclear treaty with Russia

The United States formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday. Washington “will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russia,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement about the US withdrawal.

The 1987 arms control accord, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, bans either side from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.

Senior US administration officials said Moscow had deployed “multiple battalions” of a Russian cruise missile throughout the country in violation of the pact, “with the ability to strike critical European targets,” Reuters said. Moscow denies the allegation, saying the missile’s range puts it outside the treaty, and has accused the US of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty Washington wants to leave anyway so it can develop new missiles.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that the operation of the INF Treaty has been terminated at the initiative of the US as of August 2. Moscow also called on the US to implement a moratorium on deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles.