DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:15 P.M.) – A group of U.S. Congressmen suggested Trump administration to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Politico reported on Saturday.

The initiators accused Russia of violating the terms of this agreement, thus considering it inexpedient for the United States to follow observe the treaty any further. For instance, Mike Rogers, head of an oversight panel on nuclear weapons, called following such a policy “irresponsible”.

However, there is no confidence regarding possible withdrawal from the INF Treaty among Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council officials.

Many believe that such a move may result in a new arms race between Russia and the U.S., insisting that the treaty suits interests of country’s national security.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev as a part of major progress in mutual nuclear disarmament of the two superpowers.

More than 2,600 missiles with ranges of 500-1,000 kilometres and 1,000-5,500 kilometres, were liquidated on both sides under the terms of the treaty.

In 2014, however, Obama administration accused Russia of deploying banned missiles in eastern Europe, calling it a direct violation of the INF Treaty.

In October 2016, Russian Ministry of Defense announced deployment of Iskander-M tactical missile systems (TMS) in Kaliningrad region.

A group of Republican hawks within the Congress consider this move by Russia as a good reason for the U.S. to withdraw from the agreement.

Russian officials, in turn, reiterated that it was the U.S. that violated terms of the INF Treaty, in the first place, having deployed AEGIS Ashore anti-missile defense system in Romania in 2015 and planning to deploy another one in Poland by 2018.

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Writer, translator. Former communications engineer. Contributor at both AMN Russian and AMN English.

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