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Reagan, Gorbachev Signed It 32 Years Ago. Now, a Dead Deal

US and Russia both walked away Friday from arms control treaty; US to test new missile
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 2, 2019 12:35 PM CDT
This undated file photo provided Sept. 19, 2017, shows a Russian Iskander-K missile launched during a military exercise at a training ground near St. Petersburg, Russia.   (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP/File)
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(Newser) – The United States plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under a landmark, 32-year-old arms control treaty that the US and Russia ripped up on Friday. Washington and Moscow walked out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987, raising fears of a new arms race. The US blamed Moscow for the death of the treaty, saying that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the US and its allies, particularly in Europe. "Russia is solely responsible for the treaty's demise," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement released on Friday, per the AP. Russia, meanwhile, pointed a finger at America.

"The denunciation of the INF treaty confirms that the US has embarked on destroying all international agreements that do not suit them for one reason or another," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday. "This leads to the actual dismantling of the existing arms-control system." Pompeo said the US first raised its concerns that Russia was violating the treaty in 2013 during the Obama administration. He said the US tried for six years to prod Russia back into compliance. In February, Trump determined that Moscow was in material breach of the treaty, and the US suspended its own obligations under the agreement. That started a six-month clock to get Russia back into compliance—time that ran out on Friday. "As it has for many years, Russia chose to keep its non-compliant missile rather than going back into compliance with its treaty obligations," Pompeo said. "The United States will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russia." (Read more arms control stories.)

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