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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a news briefing at the State Department February 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Citing Russia's violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Pompeo announced that the United States will withdraw in 180 days from the treaty, which has been a centerpiece of nuclear arms control since the Cold War. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says U.S. plans to withdraw from nuclear treaty with Russia

The United States will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday, blaming Russia for years of non-compliance that he said could escalate into an arms race.

“The agreements we enter must serve American interests and countries must be held accountable when they break the rules,” Pompeo said in remarks at the State Department.

Signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty “requires destruction of the Parties’ ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment.”

Russia has been in violation of the treaty for years, Pompeo said. For six years, both the Trump and Obama administrations have raised concerns about Russia’s noncompliance. In December, the Trump administration gave Russia 60 days to agree to the treaty’s terms, warning that the U.S. would prepare to withdraw from the treaty if Russia did not comply.

Since then, “Russia has refused to take any steps to return to full and verifiable compliance,” Pompeo said.

That means on Feb. 2, the U.S. will begin to withdraw from the decades-old treaty.

President Trump has criticized NATO allies and approached them with a combative tone at times.

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