Putin Signs Bill to Suspend Participation in INF Treaty

US had already announced intention to withdraw from 1987 treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill Wednesday formalizing Russia’s suspension of participation in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The move comes after President Trump had announced the US suspension of the deal.

The 1987 treaty forbids medium-range land-based cruise and ballistic nuclear-capable missiles by either side. The US accused Russia of violating the deal with a recently developed missile, though Russia denied this, saying the missile was only tested for ranges shorter than the INF restriction.

The US withdrawal from the deal has raised concerns in Russia that the US may intend to install such missiles in Eastern Europe, along the Russian border. With NATO expanding so far east, this could greatly risk Russia’s nuclear balance.

Mikhail Gorbachev, one of the original signatories of the treaty, was very critical of the US decision to withdraw from it, saying it could lead to a dangerous escalation in the arms race. Though Trump and Putin have recent agreed in general not to start a new arms race, the collapse of the INF remains a dangerous step in that direction.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.