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US Senator Urges Congress to Pass Bill Preventing Arms Race After INF Pullout

© AP PhotoMissiles, SS-23 Destroyed. The 957th and last of the Soviet Union's SS-23 shorter range missiles
Missiles, SS-23 Destroyed. The 957th and last of the Soviet Union's SS-23 shorter range missiles - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Congress should adopt newly proposed legislation to prevent a new nuclear arms race now that President Donald Trump has decided to abandon the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Senator Chris Van Hollen said in a statement.

"Congress must now pass the Prevention of Arms Race Act", Van Hollen said via Twitter post on Friday. Van Hollen and nine other senators formally introduced the Prevention of Arms Race Act to Congress late on Thursday.

The bill would make it more difficult for the Trump administration to obtain funds for the procurement, fight-testing or deployment of any ground-launched or ballistic missiles, according to the text of the legislation.

To obtain any such funds, the Trump administration would first have to meet a string of strict requirements, including submitting a report to Congress on its diplomatic efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty.

READ MORE: Post-INF US Missiles May Be Deployed Against China — Russian Ex-Gen Staff Head

The administration would also have to give Congress a memorandum of understanding from a NATO or Indo-Pacific ally that commits to hosting any such missile on its own territory.

Mikhail Gorbachev (left) and Ronald Reagan after signing the INF Treaty, December 8, 1987 - Sputnik International
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Van Hollen recalled that he was among the lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who worked to ratify the INF Treaty. He said Trump's decision to scrap the agreement would harm the security of the United States and NATO while strengthening Russian President Vladimir Putin's hand.

Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the United States would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty on 2 February and begin the six-month withdrawal process unless Russia "comes back into compliance" with the bilateral agreement.

The INF Treaty, signed by the United States and Soviet Union in 1987, bans all ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges 310 and 3,400 miles. The United States has repeatedly claimed that Russia's 9M729 missile violated the terms of the INF treaty, allegations repeatedly denied by Moscow. Russia, for its part, has organized a special briefing on the disputed missile of 9M729 ballistic system for foreign military attaches.

READ MORE: Trump Hopes to Negotiate 'Much Better' Deal Than INF Suspended by US

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, military attaches and representatives of CSTO, BRICS, EU and NATO military-diplomatic corps, as well as some other European and Asian countries were invited to the briefing. However, US, UK, French and German, as well as EU and NATO representatives, did not attend the briefing.

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Last October, US President Donald Trump announced his country’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty due to alleged violations by Russia. On 4 December, Pompeo said that Russia had 60 days to comply with the agreement. On Friday the US president announced that Washington will initiate the process of withdrawal from the INF Treaty on 2 February and suspend all obligations under the accord. Moscow slammed the US actions, noting that it has failed to present evidence that prove Russian violations of the accord.

READ MORE: Moscow: Russian Hypersonic Weapons Eliminate Threat From US Exit From INF Treaty

The INF Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the US in 1987, and provides for the elimination of all nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles that operate at ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.    

 

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