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Putin signs bill to suspend Russia's participation in nuclear treaty

Move comes after Trump announced US would quit Cold War-era pact banning production of intermediate-range missiles

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 03 July 2019 21:30 BST
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to formally pull Russia out of a nuclear pact with the US
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to formally pull Russia out of a nuclear pact with the US (AP)

Vladimir Putin has signed a bill suspending Russia's participation in a pivotal nuclear arms pact with the United States.

The Russian president’s decree formalises his country’s departure from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, from which the US announced its withdrawal earlier this year.

Donald Trump’s administration gave notice in February of its intention to pull out on 2 August, citing Moscow's development of a missile that was in breach of the pact.

Russia has denied any violations and accused the US of breaking the accord.

In a tit-for-tat response, the Kremlin followed Washington in announcing in February it would also suspend its INF treaty obligations

The pact, signed by US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, banned the production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310 to 3,410 miles.

The intermediate-range weapons were seen as particularly destabilising as they take a short time to reach their targets compared to the intercontinental ballistic missiles.

That would leave practically no time for decision-makers to gauge how to respond, raising the likelihood of a global nuclear conflict over a false launch warning.

Mr Gorbachev has said it was "mistake" for Mr Trump to withdraw from the treaty, telling Russia's Interfax news agency last year: “Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements ... Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?,”

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