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US Senators pen letter urging President Trump not to pull out of INF

Senators noted that the Administration’s sudden decision to withdraw unilaterally is a geostrategic gift to Russia

WASHINGTON, December 4. /TASS/. A group of senators at the US Congress sent an open letter to US President Donald Trump urging against withdrawing the U.S. from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The relevant document was spread by the administration of Foreign Relations Committee of the upper chamber of the Congress.

"While we understand the challenges of getting Russia to reverse its violation of the INF Treaty, the Administration’s sudden decision to withdraw unilaterally is a political and geostrategic gift to Russia," Senators Bob Menendez, Jack Reed and Mark Warner wrote.

According to them, such a step in particular "feeds a narrative that the United States is willing to shred our commitments unilaterally without any strategic alternative."

"Additionally, it allows Russia to expand the production and deployment of its intermediate range missile system, the 9M729, which will further menace Europe," they said.

They are convinced that the President, his administration should engage with Congress "on the implications of this step for strategic stability and our relations with European and Asian allies [of the U.S.] before taking action to withdraw or suspend the fulfillment of its obligations under the INF.

On October 20, Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia had allegedly violated it.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called this decision "a dangerous step." Washington’s decision was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. London supported the U.S. decision, while NATO blamed Trump’s decision on Russia.

The INF Treaty was concluded on December 8, 1987, and 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). In recent years, Washington has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the treaty. Moscow strongly dismissed the accusations and voiced its own claims concerning Washington’s non-compliance.