President Trump said Saturday evening he intends to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Reagan-era arms control agreement with Russia (originally the Soviet Union) that eliminated thousands of short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
"Russia has violated the agreement. They've been violating it for many years," Trump said. "And 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."
NATO has confirmed Russian missile tests in the past decade likely violate the deal. "Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this month. "All allies agree that the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the treaty. It is therefore urgent that Russia addresses these concerns in a substantial and transparent manner."
In early October, Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, the United States' permanent representative to NATO, said "countermeasures would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty" if Moscow does not change course.
The INF Treaty was originally signed in 1987 between then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. It took effect in 1988.