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    Ex-US Defense Official: Future of Global Arms Control Bleak Without INF Treaty

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Future arms control treaties to limit deployments of nuclear weapons have become increasingly unlikely with a US decision to withdraw from the 1987 INF Treaty that was negotiated with the former Soviet Union, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

    "The prospect for new arms control negotiations is bleak", Freeman said. Freeman warned that the danger of a nuclear exchange in Europe will increase without the INF Treaty, which bans ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,100 miles.

    On Friday, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the United States would end its obligations under the INF Treaty on Saturday, initiating a six-month period to scrap the accord.

    Freeman noted that China, which is not part of the INF Treaty, has built up an arsenal of intermediate range missiles covered by the accord and has been cited as a reason for terminating the agreement.

    READ MORE: US ‘Will Feel Free to Pursue Development of INF-Violating Missiles’ — Watchdog

    Freeman said the US withdrawal would have no impact in Asia because Washington is determined to deploy nuclear-capable cruise missiles to complement its airborne nuclear arsenal.

    The United States has claimed that Russia has not been compliant with the terms of the INF Treaty. Washington has specifically said that Russia’s Novator 9M729 cruise missile is in violation of the accord.

    Russia has emphasized on numerous occasions that it strictly complies with the obligations outlined in the INF Treaty.

    On 24 October, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Moscow provided the United States all information about when and at what distances Moscow tested the Novator 9M729 missile.

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

    In addition, Russia has said the United States was deploying launchers for Tomahawk missiles in Romania and Poland in violation of the INF Treaty as well as developing combat drones and financing research on the development of a ground-launched cruise missile.

    The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States and entered into force on 1 June 1988.

    On 2 February, US President Donald Trump is expected to make the suspension of the INF treaty official.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    prospects, suspension, INF treaty, Chas W. Freeman, United States, Russia
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