It was announced this week that the United States would begin a six-month process to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty over five years of allegations that Russia is violating Reagan-era agreements.
The 29 NATO members unanimously voted on Friday to endorse the United States’ decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty, and Florida Congressman Michael Waltz commented on what this move means moving forward.
“The INF was a landmark agreement of President Reagan’s that played an essential role in preventing nuclear war and reducing an arms race between the Cold-War super-powers,” he explained.”
“However,” he continued, “Russia’s consistent violations, coupled with China’s advancement of its own weapons capabilities, demonstrate American compliance is no longer in the best interest of our national defense or security, nor that of our allies. Withdrawing from the INF, a step only taken after careful consideration of the facts, is a reciprocal and appropriate response to Russia’s aggressive attempts to undermine American interests and security and the threats we face from China’s advanced weapons capabilities.”
Waltz concluded by thanking “the President for untethering our ability to prepare and respond to emerging and growing threats to our homeland and interests.”
On Friday, President Trump accused Moscow of violating the 1987 INF Treaty “with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad.”
President Trump added in a statement that “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 six months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment.”
In response, Putin ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons, but he stressed that Russia would not deploy them in the European part of the country or anywhere else unless the United States does so.
Putin explained, “we will respond quid pro quo. Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participating in the treaty and we will do the same. They have announced they will conduct research and development, and we will act accordingly.”