Pompeo Announces US Withdrawal From Arms Control Treaty With Russia

Carlos Tischler/Getty Images South America

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the U.S. is pulling out of a treaty with Russia that’s been a centerpiece of arms control since the Cold War.

The American withdrawal had been expected for months. It follows years of unresolved dispute over Russian compliance with the 1987 pact, which bans certain ground-launched cruise missiles. Russia denies violating the treaty.

Pompeo says the U.S. will suspend its obligations to the treaty on Saturday. Pompeo says that if Russia doesn’t come into compliance, the treaty “will terminate.”

U.S. officials also have expressed concern that China, which isn’t part of the treaty, is deploying large numbers of missiles in Asia that the U.S. can’t counter because it’s bound by the treaty.

It’s a U.S.-Russia treaty that’s been a centerpiece of superpower arms control since the Cold War. And its demise has some analysts worried about a new arms race.

An American withdrawal has been expected for months, and an announcement is expected later Friday. It would follow years of unresolved dispute over Russian compliance with the pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty.

It was the first arms control measure to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 kilometers (310 miles) and 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles). Russia denies that it has been in violation.

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