Nuclear war

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U.S. exit from INF Treaty frees Russia from key nuclear constraints

John Bolton and Donald Trump on stage
President Trump, flanked by national security advisor John Bolton. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Secretary of State Pompeo announced on Feb 1. that the United States will suspend its obligations under — and withdraw from — the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. That treaty banned U.S. and Russian land-based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, but Russia has violated violated the agreement by deploying the 9M729 intermediate-range cruise missile.

Why it matters: Although Washington asserted that its goal was to bring Russia back into compliance, it did not develop a serious political and military strategy to do so. There is now little chance now of saving the treaty, whose demise will weaken U.S. and allied security and free Russia to deploy intermediate-range missiles.

U.S. exiting nuclear treaty with Russia

St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin in the snow.
Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has announced it will be withdrawing from Cold-War era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia that banned some nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, per the AP.

Driving the news: President Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton has long been warning a withdrawal was coming, and Russia and the U.S. just failed at another round of talks to work out differences — the U.S. says Russia has been deploying missiles that violate the deal for years. The U.S. will withdraw in six months unless Russia destroys "all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment," Trump said Friday.

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