US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday the United States will suspend participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The State Department claimed in a statement that Russia is in “material breach” of the treaty, citing the 9M729 missile (NATO classification SSC-8), which can reportedly travel beyond the 500-kilometer limit noted in the agreement.
“Today the United States provided Russia and other Treaty Parties with formal notice that the United States will withdraw from the INF Treaty in six months, pursuant to Article XV of the Treaty,” the statement read.
“The United States has concluded that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty arising from Russia’s continued noncompliance have jeopardized the United States’ supreme interests, and the United States can no longer be restricted by the Treaty while Russia openly violates it.
“If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty by eliminating all 9M729 missiles, their launchers, and associated equipment in this six-month period, the Treaty will terminate.”
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that, as a retaliatory measure, Moscow is also suspending its participation in the INF nuclear treaty following the US decision to end the deal.
“We will proceed as follows. Our response will be reciprocal. US partners have announced that they were suspending their participation in the [INF] Treaty, and we are suspending it as well. They have announced that they are engaged in research and development, and we will do the same thing,” Putin said at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.