INF inspection of Pershing II missiles in 1989
Today Russia seethed at the Trump administration’s hand-delivered threat in Moscow by National Security Advisor John Bolton to withdraw from the intermediate range nuclear weapon treaty or INF, negotiated by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov at the end of the Cold War. The White House firmly declared that Russia has violated this treaty by deploying a cruise missile that falls within the range of the agreement. Moscow doesn’t deny the missile exists but says it hasn’t tested the missile to fly within the prohibited range.
President Trump said the US would not let Russia “go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to”.
“I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” the president said of the INF treaty after a campaign rally in Nevada, reported the BBC.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump are to meet on November 11th in Paris and hold talks on the subject.
“Answering your question directly, can we respond,” Putin said, when asked what Russia would do if Trump made good on his pledge to leave the treaty. “We can, and it will be very fast and very effective,” he said.
“If the United States does withdraw from the INF treaty, the main question is what they will do with these [intermediate-range] missiles that will once again appear.”
“If they will deliver them to Europe, naturally our response will have to mirror this, and European countries that agree to host them, if things go that far, must understand that they are putting their own territory at risk of a possible counter-strike,” reported The Moscow Times.
The Kremlin seems to be shocked by Bolton’s threats to leave the disarmament framework and says it is worried about an arms race.
President Trump doesn’t seem to be worried at all.