Russia suspends INF Treaty with US

5 March 2019
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President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree enacting Russia’s suspension of the INF Treaty, a move that was announced after a similar decision by the US. The weapons control agreement was set to expire in less than six months.
Russia is putting on ice the Cold War-era agreement, which resulted in significant demilitarization of the European continent. The US will be formally notified about the decision.

The INF Treaty may be revived if the US “eliminates its earlier violations of its obligations” under the deal, according to the decree published by the Kremlin on Monday. Otherwise, it will simply expire and cease to exist.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty came into force in 1988 and banned both the Soviet Union and the US from developing and deploying land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5.500 km. The agreement was signed to de-escalate tensions in Europe, where both countries had dozens of such missiles deployed, posing a risk of an accidental nuclear exchange. The missiles only needed minutes to reach their targets, leaving a very small window for the other side to decide whether a detected attack was a real one, requiring immediate retaliation, or a false positive.

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