The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has now officially ended, six months after President Trump issued Moscow an ultimatum to cease its alleged violations.
“Decades ago, the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities,” the President said during his February State of the Union address.
“While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty.”
The clock on that timetable has just run out, with the US announcing it has ripped up the landmark agreement.
Moscow for its part has blamed the US for collapse of the treaty, with both sides over the past couple years frequently pointing the finger at the other for violating its terms, namely a ban on all land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles.
Meanwhile, the AP reports on the day of the landmark deal's final collapse:
The United States plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under a landmark, 32-year-old arms control treaty that the U.S. and Russia ripped up on Friday.
"Russia is solely responsible for the treaty's demise," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement released on Friday.
VIDEO: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance will avoid "a new arms race" with Russia and will not deploy new nuclear missiles on European soil after a Cold War missile pact ended pic.twitter.com/UdwN9tUIOZ— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 2, 2019
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also laid blame on Russia in remarks Friday, saying that NATO members "regret that Russia showed no willingness and took no steps to comply with its international obligations."
He pledged that the alliance will avoid "a new arms race" with Russia and prevent powers from deploying new nuclear missiles on European soil, which has long been the chief danger that the INF for decades blocked.
But could this be the start of a new unrestrained arms race which does see missiles creep onto European soil? 88-year old Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev thinks so.
“The termination of the treaty will hardly be beneficial for the international community, this move undermines security not only in Europe, but in the whole world,” Gorbachev told Interfax on Friday.
“This US move will cause uncertainty and chaotic development of international politics,” the original co-signer of the treaty with Reagan predicted.