WASHINGTON, February 15. /TASS/. A legislation dubbed the INF Treaty Compliance Act that would prevent Washington from spending taxpayer money on weapons that violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has been introduced to the US Congress. The legislation was developed by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
"We face a greater risk of nuclear catastrophe now than ever before in history. The threat of nuclear war is real," Gabbard said at a press conference on Friday. "President Trump’s reckless decision to pull out of the INF Treaty heightens this threat by exacerbating the new Cold War, sparking a new arms race between the United States and Russia, and bringing us ever closer to a nuclear holocaust," she added.
"President Trump’s actions make the American people and our country less safe, while wasting taxpayer dollars to pay for the new arms race and nuclear weapons," Gabbard pointed out. "My legislation will uphold the INF Treaty, prevent an escalation of the new Cold War and new arms race, and protect taxpayer dollars. Rather than scrapping the INF Treaty, we should be working to strengthen and expand it, and continue pursuing a path toward security and peace," she emphasized.
A number of nonprofit organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Global Zero movement dedicated to the elimination of nuclear weapons, have expressed support for Gabbard’s initiative.
INF: from inception to suspension
The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, 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.