Russia has announced that it is suspending its participation in the only remaining major nuclear treaty with the United States. The move comes as a response to the US’ decision to pull out of the agreement earlier this year.
The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It barred the two countries from possessing, producing, or testing ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
The suspension of the treaty was announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday. In a statement, the ministry said that the US’ actions had led to a “complete suspension” of the agreement. It said that the US had “sabotaged” the treaty by deploying intermediate-range missiles and accusing Russia of violating the agreement.
The statement also said that Russia is now “free from the limits of the treaty” and it is open to negotiations with the US to preserve the agreement in the future.
The US, however, has accused Russia of violating the treaty and has vowed to respond if necessary. It has also begun deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe, which has been met with criticism from the European Union.
The suspension of the INF treaty marks the end of an agreement that has been in place for more than three decades and has been seen as a cornerstone of international security. It also raises fears of a new arms race.