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Trump Suspends Nuclear Treaty Over Russia’s Violations

U.S. could withdraw fully from the Cold War-era agreement if the rules continue to be flagrantly ignored with 'impunity'

The United States is suspending its Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia because Russians “violated the terms” without “remorse,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Friday morning.

Many of President Donald Trump’s media critics and liberal adversaries accuse him of being soft on Russia and in cahoots with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Friday’s actions prove otherwise.

U.S. officials accused Russia of violating the 1987 treaty for years.

Trump and his administration floated a possible treaty suspension for months.

“For years, Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty without remorse,” Pompeo said Friday during a speech at the Department of State. These violations “put millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk,” Pompeo warned.

“It is our duty to respond appropriately,” Pompeo added.

The suspension officially goes into effect on Saturday. Russia will have six months to comply fully with the treaty’s terms before the U.S. withdraws itself completely.

“For far too long, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad,” Trump said in a statement.

“Tomorrow, 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,” Trump added.

Related: Trump’s Actions with Russia ‘Speak Stronger’ Than His ‘Occasional Gaffes’

The president emphasized that his administration “remains committed to effective arms control” as long as partners “faithfully implement their obligations.”

But Trump warned that the U.S. “will not remain constrained” by the treaty while Russia “misrepresents its actions.”

“We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other,” Trump said. “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) released a statement reacting to Trump’s decision.

“The United States is taking this action in response to the significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security posed by Russia’s covert testing, production, and fielding of 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems. Allies fully support this action,” the statement read, according to MSNBC.

If Russia fails to comply, NATO warned that “Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the treaty.”

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