Russia suspends role in nuclear pact

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Media captionAre we on the cusp of a new nuclear arms race?

Russia has suspended its involvement in the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) following a similar decision by the US.

President Vladimir Putin said Russian would start developing new missiles.

On Friday, the US, which has long accused Russia of violating the treaty, formally announced it was suspending its obligations under the agreement.

Signed in 1987 by the US and USSR, it banned the use of short and medium-range missiles by both countries.

“Our American partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the treaty, and we are suspending it too,” Mr Putin said on Saturday.

“All of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open,” he added.

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Russia denies building missiles that violate the accord

Earlier on Saturday, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC: “All (European) allies agree with the United States because Russia has violated the treaty for several years. They are deploying more and more of the new nuclear capable missiles in Europe.”

Russia has denied violating the INF accord.

What is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty?

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Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan signed the INF Treaty in 1987

  • Signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, the arms control deal banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges, except sea-launched weapons
  • The US had been concerned by the Soviet deployment of the SS-20 missile system and responded by placing Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe – sparking widespread protests
  • By 1991, nearly 2,700 missiles had been destroyed
  • Both countries were allowed to inspect the other’s installations
  • In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the treaty no longer served Russia’s interests
  • The move came after the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002

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