Washington, August 2: The United States and Russia both walked away from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty today putting an end to a landmark arms control treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed three decades ago.
If both the US and Russia choose not to extend or replace the larger New START treaty when it expires in early 2021, there will be no legally binding limits on the world's two largest nuclear arsenals for the first time in nearly a half-century.
The US blames Russia for the demise of the treaty, saying that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Europe.
In February, Washington had announced that in six months it would suspend its participation in the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty unless Moscow destroyed missiles which the US and its NATO allies alleged that they violate the agreement.
"We can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on February 1.
US President Donald Trump later alluded to the possibility of a new treaty, saying, "I hope we're able to get everybody in a big, beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better," though the specific nature of such a treaty remains unclear.
For its part, Russia denied the US allegations and accused Washington of flouting the treaty itself, before giving notice that it would also pull out of the bilateral agreement.
President Donald Trump hasn't committed to extending or replacing New START, which imposed limits starting in 2018 on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.