A Forced Decision: Why the US Withdrew From the INF Treaty

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On Tuesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the aim was to create new land-based missiles within the next two years.

On Friday, Trump said Washington would start a process to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement within six months.

Moscow and Washington accuse each other of violating the treaty and Putin said Russian Federation had acted after the United States announced it was withdrawing from the pact.

Pompeo accused Russian Federation of developing and deploying a cruise missile that violates provisions of the pact that bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310 to 3,410 miles.

For its part, the United States of Donald Trump has stoked Russian anxieties over American intentions by withdrawing from a number of multilateral accords - including the Iran nuclear deal - pursuing superiority in sea- and air-launched missile systems, and talking up development of a new ground-launched cruise missile.

NATO has said that USA allies "fully support" its withdrawal from the pact, and agreed that Russia's 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems violates the treaty.

The INF was signed in 1987, during the Cold War, to ease a crisis in which United States and Soviet missiles were placed within range of European capitals.

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Putin has argued it makes no sense for Russian Federation to deploy a ground-based cruise missile violating the treaty because it has such weapons on ships and aircraft, which aren't banned by the pact.

The U.S. withdrawal from the INF may trigger new conflicts between Washington and Beijing.

China's missile forces are a pillar of its national security strategy aimed at removing the influence of US forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Now, China and others such as Pakistan, India, and North Korea, are thought to have such capability-and they are not bound by the INF treaty. Russian Federation is now looking at modifying its 3M22 Zirkon anti-ship cruise missiles, a government source told the Kommersant newspaper.

But Russia's response to the U.S. didn't stop there.

The U.S. announced Friday it was dropping out of the agreement after Russian Federation denied that some of its new cruise missiles violated the agreement. The U.S. retains the right to revoke its notice of withdrawal from the treaty before the end of this six month period, and we would be prepared to consider doing so should Russian Federation return to full and verifiable compliance.

The agreement came about after a little over a decade of sabre rattling and showdown diplomacy between the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics over the deployment of cruise missiles and short range ballistic missiles, which were largely a threat to Western Europe. According to one source, US intelligence assesses that Russia's development efforts on the missile continues. The missile, with a maximum range of at least 4,000 kilometers, can hit USA bases in Guam from the Chinese mainland and is thus called a "Guam killer". The reports are believed to be meant to restrain the U.S.by emphasizing the performance of the latest weapon.

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