(ABC.NET) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending Russia‘s participation in the Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with the United States, the Kremlin said.
- Russia denies flouting INF accord and has accused Washington of breaking it
- Pact hinders US-Russian ability to own, make or test ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles
- Collapse sparks concerns from Europe that a new nuclear arms race could begin
Russia announced last month it was suspending the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after the United States said it would withdraw because of violations by Moscow.
Russia denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States.
The pact prevents the two superpowers from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.
Putin ordered the treaty be suspended until Washington stops violating the treaty and has told the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform signatories to the accord of Russia’s move to suspend it, the text of the decree showed.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of failing to comply with the pact and gave them six months to do so.
“If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty within this six-month period by verifiably destroying its INF-violating missiles, their launchers, and associated equipment, the treaty will terminate,” he said last month.