U.S. announces pullout from INF missile treaty with Russia

The United States said on February 1 it was withdrawing from the landmark Cold War INF missile treaty with Russia, saying Moscow was in violation.

Effective February 2, “the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which will be completed in six months unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers and associated equipment,” President Donald Trump said in a statement.

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.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will suspend its obligations to the treaty on February 2. Mr. Pompeo said 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.