- Russia is readying itself to suspend the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty after the U.S. accused Russia of violating conditions and withdrew from it.
- The treaty was signed in 1987 by the U.S. and the former USSR, which “eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.”
- This was the first time the two nations signed such an agreement that not only introduced on-site inspections to verify compliance but also removed a whole category of nuclear arms.
- The treaty had problems since it “didn’t affect aircraft- and sea-based missiles, an area where the US had a clear strategic advantage at the time, so it was widely seen as a gesture of goodwill by the USSR at a cost to its own national security.”
- Additionally, other countries like China, the UK and France weren’t included in the INF although they each had nuclear arms.
- The U.S. claims that Russia “has been secretly developing intermediate-range missiles, in particular, those that can allegedly be fired from the tactical missile system Iskander-M, deployed along the country’s western borders.”
- On the other hand, Russia has accused America “of violating the treaty by placing standardized ground-based Aegis Ashore anti-missile launchers in Europe that can be used to fire cruise missiles.”
- The Trump administration halted the INF in February.