Gorbachev calls Trump’s withdrawal from arms treaty ‘a mistake’

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Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan sign the arms control agreement banning the use of intermediate-range nuclear missiles, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty, in Washington on Dec. 8, 1987.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the Soviet Union, urged President Trump not to pull the U.S. out of a landmark arms control treaty, The Telegraph newspaper reported Sunday.

Gorbachev negotiated the The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with former President Reagan in 1986 to ban all land-based missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,420 miles. 

Trump confirmed Saturday that the U.S. will exit the treaty — which Russia has been accused of repeatedly violating since at least 2014.

{mosads}Gorbachev said Sunday that quitting the INF “is a mistake.”

“Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements. … Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?” he said, according to Interfax News Agency.

National security adviser John Bolton is reportedly expected to inform Russian President Vladimir Putin of the withdrawal during his trip to Moscow this week.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin told the Telegraph that Putin will seek more answers from Bolton during the tense talks.

Top Russian officials have also pushed back against Trump’s plan to withdraw from the INF.

Sergei Ryabkov, the country’s deputy foreign minister, compared the withdrawal to a form of “blackmail.”

“We condemn the continuing attempts to achieve Russia’s concessions through blackmail, moreover in such an issue which has importance for international security and security in the nuclear weapons sphere, for maintaining strategic stability,” Ryabkov told state news agency Tass on Sunday.

“This would be a very dangerous step, which, I’m sure, won’t be just understood by the international community, but arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community,” he added.

Gorbachev and Reagan signed the deal more than three decades ago, resulting in Moscow and Washington destroying as many of 2,692 missiles.

It allows the U.S. to counter Chinese efforts to amass arms in the Pacific but prevents the U.S. from deploying new weapons in response.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. ambassador to the NATO, earlier this month was criticized after appearing to warn that the U.S. could be forced to “take out” missiles Russia is developing that violate the INF.

“It is time now for Russia to come to the table and stop the violations,” Hutchison told reporters in Brussels.

She later clarified on Twitter that she was not talking about a preemptive strike on Russia.

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