MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending Moscow’s compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
"Given the need to take urgent measures following the United States’ violation of its obligations under the Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987... Russia’s compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is hereby suspended until the US addresses the violation of obligations under the Treaty or until the Treaty is terminated," the decree reads, as cited in the Kremlin’s statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has been instructed to send a notice of suspension to the United States. The decree enters into force on the day of signing.
The INF Treaty took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions had accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.
On February 1, US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.
On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the agreement. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show willingness for an equal and substantive dialogue.
Putin said in his State of the Nation address on February 20 that "Russia will have to develop and deploy weapons that can be used not only against areas from which a direct threat will come but also against territories where decision-making centers are located." He also stressed that the US had blatantly ignored the INF Treaty by deploying missile launchers to Romania and Poland.