Exclusive Reports - Russia suspends nuclear missile treaty after US move

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Russia was suspending its participation in a key Cold War-era missile treaty in a mirror response to a US move the day before.
Moscow and Washington have long accused the other of violating the Intermediate -Range Nuclear Forces agreement .
President Donald Trump last year announced plans to withdraw unless Russia fulfilled its obligations .

“ Our American partners have announced they are suspending their participation in the deal , and we are also suspending our participation , ” Putin said of the agreement , following a US deadline for cooperation .
Putin said during a televised meeting with foreign and defence ministers Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu that Russia would no longer initiate talks with the US on disarmament .
“ We will wait until our partners have matured enough to conduct an equal , meaningful dialogue with us on this important topic , ” the president said.
Brokered by US president Ronald Reagan with last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty ended a superpower buildup of warheads that had frightened Europeans .
It banned ground -launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5 , 500 kilometres ( 300 to 3 , 400 miles ) .

The deal resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear - tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals , but put no restrictions on other major military actors such as China .
President Donald Trump said on Friday that Washington was starting a process to withdraw from the agreement in six months.
Trump said he would like to “ get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new treaty , ” but in the meantime , the United States “ can ’ t be put at a disadvantage . ”
– Disputed missile -The
US in December gave Moscow a 60-day deadline to dismantle missiles it said breached the agreement .
But Moscow has insisted the disputed 9 M 729 missile is allowed under the treaty . The defence ministry last month invited journalists and foreign military attaches to a briefing on the weapon system .

Lavrov on Saturday repeated Russian accusations that Washington itself has been in violation of the deal for many years.
The foreign minister said Russia had “ tried everything to save the treaty ” in several rounds of diplomatic talks.
Putin meanwhile said Russia would seek to develop medium-range missiles in response to what he said were similar projects in the US .
He has previously warned of proliferation of weapons but on Saturday told the ministers Russia would “ not be drawn into a costly new arms race” .
Russia would only deploy intermediate- and short -range missiles in Europe or elsewhere in answer to similar moves from the US , he added.

European leaders have voiced fears over the consequences of the treaty ’ s demise and called on Russia to address concerns before the United States formally leaves in August .
NATO said in a statement Friday that the US allies “ fully support ” the withdrawal and agreed that Russia ’ s 9 M 729 ground-launched cruise missile systems , whose range is the cause of US concerns , violated the treaty .
Lavrov at Saturday ’ s meeting also voiced concerns that Washington ’ s decision to withdraw from the INF could jeopardise the extension of the New START treaty .
That agreement , which caps the number of nuclear warheads held by Washington and Moscow, expires in 2021 .

Via Punchng

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