Donald Trump confirmed today that the United States will withdraw from a nuclear weapons treaty that they signed with Russia during the Cold War. He accused Moscow of violating the treaty “for many years”.
“Russia does not respect the treaty. So, we are going to end the agreement”, the president said to journalists. The treaty in question is the INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty), which restricts nuclear weapons with a medium range. The then American president Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty in 1987.
“The Russians have been violating it for many years,” says Trump, who says he does not understand why President Barack Obama did not renegotiate or withdraw from the treaty. “We are not going to let them violate the nuclear agreement and have them produce weapons, while that is not allowed for us. We have kept our agreement. But unfortunately, that did not happen to Russia,” said Trump.
New nuclear arms race
The conscious treaty, which abolishes the use of a series of missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, put an end to a crisis that had arisen in the 1980s. The Soviet Union then deployed SS-20 missiles with nuclear heads, targeting Western capitals.
Experts warn that the US decision to withdraw from the INF treaty could lead to a new nuclear arms race between the US and Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says that the Americans are withdrawing from the treaty because they would dream of a world in which they are dominant. “The most important motivation is the dream of a unipolar world (a world where one country is dominant over all other countries, ed.). Will that dream become a reality? No,” according to a source from Foreign Affairs to the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Trumps security advisor John Bolton has been urging the termination of the agreement for some time. Bolton would also block all negotiations on an extension of the New Start treaty on strategic missiles.
Donald Trump made his decision known while his National Security Advisor John Bolton was in Moscow on Saturday. He would “continue” the controversial dialogue that the President of the US and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin started in July.
Bolton has been insisting on the termination of the agreement for some time. He would also block all negotiations on an extension of the New Start treaty on strategic missiles. That treaty expires in 2021 and Moscow wants to extend it.
The relations between Washington and Moscow have been strained because of the accusations of Russian interference in the American elections. The American president had promised in his election to improve relations with Russia. In July he was extremely conciliatory of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a joint press conference in Helsinki, after their first bilateral summit in Finland.