President Donald Trump announced Saturday the U.S. would be pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia signed during the Cold War accusing Moscow of repeatedly violating the agreement.
"Russia has violated the agreement. They've been violating it for many years," Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One while heading to Nevada for a campaign rally Saturday afternoon.
"And I don't know why President Obama didn't negotiate or pull out. And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to," he said. "We're the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we've honored the agreement.
"But Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement. So we're going to terminate the agreement. We're gonna pull out."
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987, was intended to limit the number of nuclear missiles in each country and was going to expire in the next two years. The treaty prohibits the United States or Russia from possessing, producing, or test-flying a ground-based launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles. The treaty also covers all land-based missiles, including those that can carry nuclear warheads.
Anti-nuclear proliferation groups were quick to decry Trump's move to pull the U.S. out of the treaty. In a statement, the Director for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Beatrice Fihn, condemned the move.
"By declaring he will leave the INF Treaty, President Trump has shown himself to be a demolition man who has no ability to build real security.," Fihn said. "Instead, by blowing up nuclear treaties he is taking the US down a trillion dollar road to a new nuclear arms race."
The U.S. has accused Russia of violating the treaty for years, as American officials say Moscow has been rapidly expanding and advancing its weapons stockpile.
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