President Donald Trump said Washington would withdraw from a landmark Cold War-era treaty that eliminated nuclear missiles from Europe because Russia was violating the pact, triggering a warning of retaliatory measures from Moscow.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, required elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.
“Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump told reporters on Saturday after a rally in Nevada.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Sunday that a unilateral withdrawal by the United States would be “very dangerous” and lead to a “military-technical” retaliation.
Gorbachev, now a frail 87-year-old, said it would be a mistake for Washington to quit the treaty, and it would undermine work he and U.S. counterparts did to end the Cold War Arms race.
“Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?” Interfax news agency quoted Gorbachev as saying.