Moscow suspends nuclear treaty in tit-for-tat with US

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On Friday, Trump said Washington would start a process to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement within six months. If no agreement is reached with Russian Federation, the wraps will be off.

"There is a real and present danger that [Trump's withdrawal] will provoke a renewed nuclear arms race and brings us closer to nuclear war", Martha Hennessy, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven, added. He also accused the USA of seeking to make "ground-based missiles with a range capability of over 500 kilometers". "The position of the American side is very tough and like an ultimatum".

Since they announced the weapon, they've already used it to threaten Europe. Last weekend Russian president Vladimir Putin followed suit.

Geng warned the U.S. decision could trigger "a series of negative consequences", echoing warnings by both Russian Federation and Europe that the pull out might lead to a new arms race.

But that was long ago; a different time, a different level of technological know-how and a different power alignment.

Although Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has said that Moscow should not participate in a new arms race with Washington, Russia has now signalled it will develop new land-based missiles as quickly and at as low a cost as possible. However, in talks this week in Beijing, the USA and Russia reported no breakthrough in their dispute, leaving little reason to think either side would change its stance on whether a Russian cruise missile violates the pact. The Russian answer is basically "prove it", which is highly unlikely given the tensions, sanctions, and other actions dividing the two nations including the invasion of Crimea, Russian support for Syria's murderous regime, and now Russian backing for current Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.

"The United States has concluded that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty arising from Russia's continued noncompliance have jeopardized the United States' supreme interests", the statement said.

"We have plenty to choose from", pro-Kremlin defence analyst Igor Korotchenko told AFP, noting the Dagger missile was just one such system. This is what the US worries about.

The mission comes as Paris looks to ensure its long-term nuclear dissuasion program, with Europe increasingly anxious about security as tensions rise between Washington and Moscow. For months, the US has stated that, if Russian Federation failed to end an ongoing pattern of INF violations dating back five years, Washington would suspend its adherence to the 32-year treaty.

No country has to date deployed a cruise missile using an on-board nuclear reactor, largely given the engineering challenges and safety concerns involved. The Union of Concerned Scientists warned that the move would "ultimately undermine the security of the United States and its allies".

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