United States President Donald Trump has said that his country will pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia, signed during the Cold War, and alleged that Moscow has "violated" the agreement.
Trump made the remarks to reporters after attending a rally in the state of Nevada on Saturday. He accused Russia of violating the 1987 treaty without providing any evidence, reported Xinhua news agency.
“We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump told reporters on Saturday when asked about responding reports that his National Security Advisor John Bolton wants the US to pull out of the three-decade-old treaty.
“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” he said.
Trump's words came as his National Security Adviser John Bolton was heading to Russia on Saturday, who has been reported to tell Russian leaders about the US plan to exit the landmark deal.
The INF treaty was signed between the then US president Ronald Reagan and his USSR counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.
It eliminates all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers or 310–620 miles (short-range) and 1,000–5,500 km or 620–3,420 miles (intermediate-range).
“We are going to terminate the agreement and then we are going to develop the weapons”, unless Russia and China agree to a new deal, the US president said.
He alleged that Russia had violated the agreement. "Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years," Trump said.
He asserted that "and we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to”.
“We'll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let's really get smart and let's none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia's doing it and if China's doing it, and we're adhering to the agreement, that's unacceptable," Trump asserted.
He said the US will not adhere to the agreement, unless others were violating it.
Trump alleged that his predecessor Barack Obama had kept quite on this. “I don't know why president Obama didn't negotiate or pull out. And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to," he said.
"We're the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we've honoured the agreement.
“If they get smart and if others get smart and they say let's not develop these horrible nuclear weapons, I would be extremely happy with that, but as long as somebody's violating the agreement, we're not going to be the only ones to adhere to it," the US president said.
(With agency inputs)