Trump: US to pull out of nuke pact with Rus­sia

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Obituaries - BY ZEKE MILLER AND MICHAEL BAL­SAMO As­so­ci­ated Press

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Satur­day he will pull the United States from the In­ter­me­di­ateRange Nu­clear Forces Treaty be­cause Rus­sia has vi­o­lated the agree­ment, but he pro­vided no de­tails on the vi­o­la­tions.

The 1987 pact, which helps pro­tect the se­cu­rity of the U.S. and its al­lies in Europe and the Far East, pro­hibits the United States and Rus­sia from pos­sess­ing, pro­duc­ing or test­fly­ing a ground-launched cruise mis­sile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

“Rus­sia has vi­o­lated the agree­ment. They have been vi­o­lat­ing it for many years,” Trump said af­ter a rally in Elko, Ne­vada. “And we’re not go­ing to let them vi­o­late a nu­clear agree­ment and go out and do weapons and we’re not al­lowed to.”

The agree­ment has con­strained the U.S. from de­vel­op­ing new weapons, but Amer­ica will be­gin de­vel­op­ing them un­less Rus­sia and China agree not to pos­sess or de­velop the weapons, Trump said. China is not cur­rently party to the pact.

“We’ll have to de­velop those weapons, un­less Rus­sia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let’s re­ally get smart and let’s none of us de­velop those weapons, but if Rus­sia’s do­ing it and if China’s do­ing it, and we’re ad­her­ing to the agree­ment, that’s un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser John Bolton was headed Satur­day to Rus­sia, Azer­bai­jan, Ar­me­nia and Ge­or­gia. His first stop is Moscow to meet with se­nior Rus­sian of­fi­cials at a time when MoscowWash­ing­ton re­la­tions re­main frosty over the Ukrainian cri­sis, the war in Syria and al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race and up­com­ing U.S. midterm elec­tions.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from the Krem­lin or the Rus­sian For­eign Min­istry on Trump’s an­nounce­ment.

“We are slowly slip­ping back to the sit­u­a­tion of cold war as it was at the end of the So­viet Union, with quite sim­i­lar con­se­quences, but now it could be worse be­cause (Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir) Putin be­longs to a gen­er­a­tion that had no war un­der its belt,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, an in­de­pen­dent Rus­sian po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst. “These peo­ple aren’t as much fear­ful of a war as peo­ple of Brezh­nev’s epoch. They think if they threaten the West prop­erly, it gets scared.”

U.S. of­fi­cials have pre­vi­ously al­leged that Rus­sia vi­o­lated the treaty by de­lib­er­ately de­ploy­ing a land-based cruise mis­sile in or­der to pose a threat to NATO. Rus­sia has claimed that U.S. mis­sile de­fenses vi­o­late the pact.

In the past, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion worked to con­vince Moscow to re­spect the INF treaty but made lit­tle progress.

“If they get smart and if oth­ers get smart and they say let’s not de­velop these hor­ri­ble nu­clear weapons, I would be ex­tremely happy with that, but as long as some­body’s vi­o­lat­ing the agree­ment, we’re not go­ing to be the only ones to ad­here to it,” Trump said.

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