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    US Congressman Eliot Engel, D-New York, speaksto reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 1, 2013

    US Withdrawal From INF Treaty Creates Opening for Dangerous Arms Race - Lawmaker

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    Historic Russian-US Nuclear Accord Terminated (19)
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty will create an opening for a dangerous arms race with Russia, US Congressman Eliot Engel said in a news release.

    "The Trump Administration has played into [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s hands in tearing down the treaty rather than pursuing serious diplomacy to save it", Engel said on Friday. "By pulling out of the agreement, the President is creating an opening for a dangerous arms race in which Russia can act with impunity".

    The United States earlier in the day officially withdrew from the Cold War-era INF Treaty over Russia's alleged violations of the agreement.

    Engel, who is the chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs committee, warned that the Trump administration has already set its sights on the next arms control agreement to dismantle, New START.

    The congressman from New York said that President Donald Trump should "reconsider this foolhardy and dangerous path" and extend New START - set to expire in 2021 - as long as Russia remains in compliance.

    The United States announced in February that it would be suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty in six months if Russia refused to resume compliance with the accord's provisions.

    In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a retaliatory decree halting Russia's participation in the treaty.

    The INF Treaty required the two countries to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,417 miles).

    Russia has repeatedly denied allegations that it violated the INF Treaty as unsubstantiated and complained that US defence systems in Europe were equipped with launchers capable of firing cruise missiles at ranges prohibited under the agreement.

    Topic:
    Historic Russian-US Nuclear Accord Terminated (19)

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    arms race, United States, withdrawal, INF
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