Trump says U.S. to leave key nuclear arms treaty with Russia

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By Josh Lederman, Abigail Williams and Elisha Fieldstadt

The Trump administration moved Friday to withdraw from a key missile treaty with Russia that has formed a cornerstone of nuclear arms control efforts for decades, accusing President Vladimir Putin’s government of breaching the pact and raising fears of a new Cold War-style arms race with Moscow.

President Donald Trump, announcing the U.S. intent to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, said Russia had been violating the agreement “with impunity.”

“We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other,” Trump said in a statement.

His tough words for Russia were echoed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said the U.S. would formally notify Moscow on Saturday that the U.S. will withdraw. Pompeo said Russia was in “material breach” of the pact and that NATO allies had “stood with us in our mission to uphold the rule of law and protect our people.”

“We provided Russia an ample window of time to mend its ways and for Russia to honor its commitment,” Pompeo said. “Tomorrow that time runs out.”

The 1987 treaty bans deployment and required the destruction of ground-based missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers — or 310 to 3,410 miles — whose presence in Europe became a point of crisis during the Cold War. Signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the pact has been viewed for decades as a model for arms control agreements between major powers.

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