WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Saturday he would pull out of a Cold-War era treaty with Russia that limited the number of missiles in each country.
Trump said Moscow had violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and he would halt the agreement.
“We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump said when leaving a rally in Nevada Saturday afternoon. He said the U.S. would pull out “and then we are going to develop the weapons” unless Russia and China agree to a new deal.
For most of the Cold War, U.S.-Russian summits were dominated by the issue of nuclear weapons, with Presidents Nixon, Carter and Reagan reaching a series of incremental agreements to limit the number, size and location of each side’s nuclear arsenal.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was one of those agreements and is set to expire in the next two years. The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Far East.
It prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.
For years, the U.S. has accused the Russians of violating it and said it will seek verifiable commitments before renewing the agreement.
Russia has been rapidly expanding and advancing its stockpile. The Defense Department in February described some of the advancements in a report, which also called for the U.S. to develop two new additional nuclear weapons to keep other world powers at bay.
One of the weapons the Defense Department said Russia was creating was an intercontinental nuclear-armed torpedo that can travel thousands of miles and strike U.S. coastal cities with minimal warning.
Called the “Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System,” the Russian torpedo is reported to be able to deliver a thermonuclear cobalt bomb of up to 100 megatons. The weapon could trigger a tsunami wave of radioactive water that would blanket a coastal city. Politicians have called the torpedo a “doomsday” weapon.
Trump made the announcement Saturday following a campaign stop in Elko, Nevada. National Security Adviser John Bolton was headed Saturday to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.
Contributing: Associated Press
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