Putin says Russia will follow US in abandoning nuclear arms pact

Putin says Russia will follow US in abandoning nuclear arms pact
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country will withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty after the Trump administration announced Friday that it would pull out of the pact.

“We will respond quid pro quo,” Putin said Saturday, according to The Associated Press. “Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participation in the treaty, and we will do the same."

"They have announced they will conduct research and development, and we will act accordingly," Putin added, according to the outlet.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE on Friday accused Moscow of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which was signed between then-President Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

“For far too long, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad,” Trump said in a statement Friday.

The U.S. has publicly accused Russia of violating the treaty since 2014 under the Obama administration.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoLatest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong 63 killed in blast at Afghan wedding as Taliban, US negotiate troop withdrawal Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE said the U.S. would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty effective Saturday.

“We provided Russia an ample window of time to mend its ways and for Russia to honor its commitment,” Pompeo said Friday in remarks from the State Department. “Tomorrow, that time runs out.”

"[W]e will provide Russia and the other treaty parties with formal notice that the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty effective in six months pursuant to Article 15 of the treaty,” he said.

The pact bans nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The original ban between Moscow and Washington resulted in 2,692 missiles being destroyed. 

Putin, in response, said he would order the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons but would not deploy them unless the U.S. did so.

The administration’s announcement on Friday that it would suspend its obligations under the decades-old pact was expected. Trump said in October that he intended to pull out of the pact.