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U.S. abandons 1987 nuclear arms deal with Russia

By
Clyde Hughes
U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev exchange greetings on June 1, 1988, after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty took effect. File Photo by Cliff Owen/UPI
U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev exchange greetings on June 1, 1988, after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty took effect. File Photo by Cliff Owen/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The United States has officially abandoned a Cold War-era nuclear weapons pact with Russia -- a groundbreaking agreement when it was brokered by former President Ronald Reagan -- because officials say Moscow broke the deal years ago and never came back.

The Trump administration said in February it was planning to leave the 1987 accord and gave Russia six months to return to compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

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The treaty signed by Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev prohibited intermediate-range land-based cruise and ballistic missiles.

"The U.S. gave Russia six months to return to compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Friday. "Russia refused, so the treaty ends today.

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"The U.S. will not remain party to a treaty when others violate it. Russia bears sole responsibility."

The Russian foreign ministry acknowledged the INF treaty was dead.

"At the initiative of the American side, the operation of the treaty between the Soviet Union and the United States on the elimination of intermediate and shorter range missiles signed in Washington on December 8, 1987 was terminated," it said Friday.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last month suspending Russia's participation in the deal.

The U.S. threat to withdraw followed disclosures by NATO that a new Russian missile system had violated the treaty. U.S. officials said Moscow also violated the deal in 2013 with its development of the 9M729 missile system.

Putin, however, denies Russia has ever breached the arms agreement.

The last major arms deal between the two nations, the New START treaty, expires in two years.

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