Concerns of a potential new arms race arose as the United States officially withdrew from the nuclear treaty with Russia. The signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was carried out by United States President, Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev nearly 33 years ago. The treaty restricted the use of missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 km (310 to 3,400 miles).
However, earlier this year, the United States along with Nato made accusations that Russia had launched several 9M729 missiles. Washington’s Nato allies all supported this claim from the U.S.
“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” said Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. “With the full support of our Nato allies, the United States has determined Russia to be in material breach of the treaty, and has subsequently suspended our obligations under the treaty”.
According to a statement carried by the Ria Novosti news agency, the foreign ministry of Russia corroborated that the INF treaty was “formally dead”.
In February this year, U.S President Donald Trump established the 2nd of August deadline for the Unites States to withdraw from the treaty if Russia hadn’t come into compliance. Not long after, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially removed his country’s own commitments to the agreement as well.
Secretary General of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, says that Nato is not looking to get into a new arms race, affirming that there were no intentions for the transatlantic alliance to launch land-based nukes if its own in Europe.
Withdrawal from the treaty receives a negative response
“This is serious,” says Stoltenberg. “The INF treaty has been a cornerstone in arms control for decades, and now we see the demise of the treaty.”
United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has alerted that “an invaluable brake on nuclear war” was being taken away.
“This will likely heighten, not reduce, the threat posed by ballistic missiles,” said Guterres, encouraging all parties to “seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control”.
Analysts are concerned that the termination of the treaty might result in a new arms race between the United States, Russia, and China.
“Now that the treaty is over, we will see the development and deployment of new weapons,” said Russian military analyst, Pavel Felgenhauer. “Russia is already ready.”