Russia joins US in suspending participation in historic nuclear arms treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suspended Russia's participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty after the US announced first this week that it was suspending the treaty.

The INF treaty was agreed in 1987, during the Cold War era, between the United States and the Soviet Union. The agreement was designed to reduce nuclear arms, rather than introduce an arms ceiling. The treaty banned the use of short and medium range missiles by both countries.

Mike Pompeo, America's secretary of state announced yesterday that the US would be suspending compliance from the treaty and may withdraw altogether in six months. When announcing the suspension, Mr Pompeo said: "countries must be held accountable for their actions".

Mr Putin has now hit back at the US, saying Russia is also suspending the INF treaty, and will start working on new missiles. 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has said "Allies regret that Russia, as part of its broader pattern of behaviour, continues to deny its INF Treaty violation, refuses to provide any credible response, and has taken no demonstrable steps toward returning to full and verifiable compliance."

China's government has urged both nations to maintain the treaty, and has warned there could be "adverse consequences" from the actions. A statement from China read; "China is opposed to the US withdrawal and urges the US and Russia to properly resolve differences through constructive dialogue."

In the latter half of 2018, the US spiked tensions with Russia when a senior US diplomat threatened to 'take out' Russian missiles. Mr Putin has said that "all of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open".