“We should be reinforcing efforts to strengthen and expand membership in the INF, not scrapping it,” Merkley said.
Merkley noted that President Donald Trump's threat to withdraw the United States from the 1987 treaty came exactly 56 years after
“Our history since that time is one of eliminating the most dangerous weapons, shrinking arsenals, and taking steps to reduce the risks of miscalculation. This decision by President Trump moves in the other direction,” Merkley said in his statement.
Trump said on Saturday his administration was preparing to withdraw from the INF. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn on Monday, he claimed Russia had not done enough to adhere to the treaty. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied on Monday that Moscow was in violation of the treaty, stressing that any US move to abandon the treaty would force Russia to take measures to guarantee its security.
The INF treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in December 1987, and required the parties to destroy their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (from 310 to 3,417 miles). Moscow and Washington have repeatedly accused each other of violating the treaty.