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Select Reactions to the INF Treaty Crisis
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Arms Control NOW

Authored by Shervin Taheran on December 14, 2018

The Trump administration’s sudden decision and announcement Oct. 20 to “terminate” the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russian violations of the treaty has been met with bipartisan and international concern.

On Dec. 4, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Russia to be in "material breach" of the treaty, and announced that the United States plans to suspend U.S. obligations under the treaty in 60 days unless Russia returns to compliance.

A collection of select reactions from international partners, members of Congress, and former national security policymakers, from after both the Oct. 20 and Dec. 4 announcements, is provided below and will be updated as further reactions arise.

Updated by: Shervin Taheran


International Reactions

"Allies are firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Therefore, we will continue to uphold, support, and further strengthen arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security, taking into account the prevailing security environment."

     —Statement on the INF Treaty issued by the NATO Foreign Ministers, Brussels, Dec. 4, 2018

"[W]e want the INF Treaty to continue and to be a successful treaty," Williamson told reporters. "The next few weeks are so incredibly critical. It's where as much pressure from every European nation needs to be placed on Russia, for Russia to abide by its treaty obligations. Because I don't think anyone would want to see the treaty end, but the treaty doesn't exist when you have one nation ingoring its obligations as part of the treaty."

     —UK Secretary of Defense Gavin Williamson, speaking to reporters at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 1, 2018

"So I again urge Russia to ensure full compliance with the INF Treaty with full transparency - and without delay. NATO has no intention to deploy new nuclear missiles in Europe. But as an Alliance, we are committed to the safety and the security of all our nations. We must not allow arms control treaties to be violated with impunity, because that undermines the trust in arms control in general."

     —NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg op-ed in El Pais and La Repubblica, Nov. 29, 2018.

"We want to put disarmament and arms control back on the international agenda in the coming months. For what is at stake is no more and no less than humankind’s survival. That’s why we’re working to persuade the United States not to hastily withdraw from the INF Treaty. We don’t want Europe to become the scene of a debate on a nuclear arms build up."

     —Heiko Maas, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Nov. 21, 2018

"I am extremely worried because we have always been convinced that agreements, first of all, are important; secondly, need to be respected and implemented at full; and thirdly, if there are issues and problems in their implementation, we believe the right way to go is to insist on the full implementation rather than withdraw. We still hope that there is a space for strengthening its implementation rather than dismantling it...[T]his is less for the European Union, but very important for Europe, because if we go towards the dismantling of this agreement, Europe’s security risks to be put at risk, and we definitely do not want to see European territory to go back to be a battlefield for other powers, as it has been the case for so long in the past. We do not want to go back to that kind of tensions, to that kind of situation, and we still hope there is a space for saving the agreement and implementing it."

     —Federica Mogherini, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Union, Nov. 20, 2018

"#Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini met with Senator Risch and talked about why the INF Treaty is important for both the US and Europe," and "With Senator Tom Udall from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Minister Soini discussed the meaning of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty for Europe's security."

     —Tweets by Embassy of Finland U.S.'s Twitter Account as captions to posted photographs. Sen. James Risch (R-Ida.) is set to the be the next Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman next year. Nov. 15, 2018. 

"Poland's President Andrzej Duda also expressed "understanding" for Trump's stance [to withdraw from the treaty] during his visit to Berlin on Tuesday. The termination of the disarmament treaty would be "a consequence of the situation in Russia that has been going on for years, namely the systematic violation of the agreement," The president said that in the case of the treaty being terminated, Poland would be prepared to station US medium-range missiles on its soil."

     —Poland's President Andrzej Duda, reported Oct. 25, 2018 

“We believe in arms control but it has to be balanced and verifiable and therefore I welcome the fact that one of the issues that has been discussed between the US and Russia, which are parties to the New START Agreement, is that they need a new decision to maintain the New START of 2021. I hope that they will find a way to do so because arms control is a way to avoid a new arms race and it is especially important when it comes to nuclear weapons and therefore I welcome it.”

     —Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, Oct. 24, 2018

“President Macron reminded President Trump of the importance France ascribes to this treaty, in particular for European security and our strategic stability. France attributes great importance to conventional and nuclear arms control instruments. The Allies' concern over the very likely Russian violation and the lack of transparency on Russia's implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was reaffirmed at the NATO summit this past July…We call on all the parties to avoid any hasty unilateral decisions, which would be regrettable.”

     —Press Briefing by a spokesperson for France's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Oct. 22, 2018

"We attach great importance to the historic role of this treaty on the issues of arms control and disarmament. We would not like a situation when the US would really have to withdraw from the treaty. We hope that the situation will improve."

     —Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Oct. 22, 2018

“The United States and the Russian Federation need to remain engaged in constructive dialogue to preserve the INF Treaty and ensure its full and verifiable implementation which is crucial for Europe’s and global security…. The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability.”

     —Maja Kocijancic, European Union Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, October 22, 2018

"Our government pays close attention to peace processes. I am concerned over the US’ decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I will be in Moscow, I will meet with [Russian] President Vladimir Putin, and I hope to discuss that," Conte said. He noted that due to its traditions and history, Italy "is always ready to cooperate and contribute to peace processes."

     —Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s Prime Minister. Oct. 22, 2018

"The Spanish government expresses its concern with the United States’ announcement of its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, more commonly known as the “INF Treaty”. This treaty, signed between the United States and the then Soviet Union in 1987, is one of the essential pillars of the Euro-Atlantic system of weapon control and, as such, is a safeguard of peace and security in Europe."

     —Official Statement, Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Oct. 22, 2018

“The announcement by the United States that it intends to withdraw from the INF Treaty is regrettable. It poses difficult questions for us and for Europe. For 30 years, the INF Treaty, which prohibits Russia and the United States from possessing and testing ground launch intermediate-range missiles, has been an important pillar of our European security architecture. It is therefore hugely important, particularly for us in Europe.”

     —Heiko Maas, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Oct. 21, 2018

"'Our close and long-term ally of course is the United States and we will be absolutely resolute with the United States in hammering home a clear message that Russia needs to respect the treaty obligation that it signed,” said Mr Williamson, who added that the Kremlin was making a “mockery” of the agreement. “We of course want to see this treaty continue to stand but it does require two parties to be committed to it and at the moment you have one party that is ignoring it. It is Russia that is in breach and it is Russia that needs to get its house in order.'”

     —Gavin Williamson, UK Defense Secretary, to the Financial TimesOct. 20, 2018


Members of Congress

“The Trump administration is unilaterally taking action on the INF Treaty without meaningful consultation and coordination with our NATO allies. Setting us on a precipitous course toward withdrawal from this treaty undermines the NATO alliance and transatlantic security, while playing directly into President Putin’s plans to divide us. It is no secret that some of President Trump’s advisers are more focused on promoting U.S. withdrawal from its international commitments than prioritizing the collective security of America and its partners and allies. The Trump administration should instead work with our allies to take meaningful actions to hold Russia accountable for its violation of the treaty, press Russia back into compliance, and avoid a new arms race.”

     —Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Dec. 4, 2018

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement today in Brussels that the United States will suspend operations of the INF Treaty in sixty days underscores the Administration’s continued lack of a clear strategy to counter Russia. While I remain deeply concerned with Russia’s violation of the Treaty, today’s pronouncement is a geostrategic gift to Russia. It takes the focus away from Russia’s malign behavior and replaces it with a narrative that the U.S. is willing to abandon treaties without strategic alternatives. This decision will only serve to exacerbate tense relations with our NATO allies, which will see the administration decision as another step on the road to an unconstrained nuclear arms race with Russia."

     —Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dec. 4, 2018

"For too long, Vladimir Putin has openly flaunted the INF treaty and President Trump is right to put him on notice. The United States will no longer tolerate Russian deception at the expense of national security and the security of our allies. While we’ve lived up to our commitments under the treaty, Russia has violated it for years without repercussions—putting our troops, allies and infrastructure at greater risk. Secretary Pompeo has put Putin on the clock—60 days to change course and comply with the treaty, or else the United States will withdraw. A treaty with only one side complying is unsustainable. Can Putin be trusted to uphold Russia’s international commitments? I won’t hold my breath.”

     —Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dec. 4, 2018

"Instead of scrapping a nuclear arms control treaty negotiated by President Reagan that makes America safer, the Trump Administration should listen to our European allies and stick to this agreement while working to get Russia back into compliance. Withdrawing from the INF Treaty is yet another example of the Trump Administration's dangerous and costly embrace of nuclear weapons, and the Prevention of Arms Race Act would help reverse this misguided policy."

     —Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, statement accompanying the introduction of the "Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018," Nov. 29, 2018.

"An arms race would endanger the entire world and threaten every single person in our country, and Congress has a responsibility to ensure that President Trump does not start one. Now that President Trump has announced his intent to unilaterally withdraw from a bipartisan weapons treaty with Russia, without consulting Congress or our allies, the Prevention of Arms Race Act is more important than ever. If the President proceeds with withdrawal, it would further damage our relationships with our allies, and Russia would not be legally constrained from deploying larger numbers of their previously illegal missiles. I urge my colleagues to support this bill to prevent a new arms race, and I will continue to do everything I can to keep New Yorkers and all Americans safe."

     —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, statement accompanying the introduction of the "Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018," Nov. 29, 2018.

"President Trump's reckless decision to pull the U.S. out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty alienates us from our allies and risks returning us to the Cold War postures of yesterday. A new nuclear arms race would be costly to our treasury and dangerous for the world. Today, we are coming together to send a message: Congress must not fund new ground-launched or ballistic missiles that will fuel a dangerous arms race across the globe. Instead, President Trump should convene U.S. allies at the G-20 Summit later this week to develop a unified approach to resolve Russia's violation of the Treaty."

     —Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, statement accompanying the introduction of the "Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018," Nov. 29, 2018.

"Pulling out of the INF Treaty plays squarely into Russia's hands while undermining America's security and betraying our NATO allies. Without question, Russia is violating the INF Treaty. But threatening American withdrawal will not increase our negotiating leverage; it only falls hook, line, and sinker for Putin's predictable attempts to goad the United States into justifying Russian noncompliance. The Trump administration needs to work more closely with our NATO allies to force Russia back into compliance. And as the chance of a confrontation between American and Chinese forces rises the Indo-Pacific, it makes little sense to add further ambiguity over whether U.S. missiles stationed around the region are nuclear-armed. This legislation will help ensure that we don't match two major adversaries missile-for-missile, trigger a new nuclear arms race, and incur unacceptable amounts of risk in an already tenuous security environment."

     —Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, statement accompanying the introduction of the "Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018," Nov. 29, 2018.

“It would be better to build international pressure to hold Russia accountable for violating the treaty and force it back into serious negotiations than to have the U.S. pull out now. In addition, terminating the INF Treaty will complicate - if not undermine - discussions to extend the New START Treaty with Russia. The New START Treaty sets overall totals for strategic nuclear weapons on both sides and will expire in 2021, but can be extended for five years. Trump’s impulsive and glib proposed termination of the INF Treaty and failure to date to begin discussion of extending the New START Treaty could begin the unwinding of international arms control that has provided decades of stability regarding nuclear weapons.”

     —Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Oct. 24, 2018

“We also have heard that maybe [Trump administration officials] want to end the New START treaty. I think that would be a huge mistake. The START treaty has worked. I feel responsible, with others, but I really led the charge to cause it to be ratified. And it's worked. So I hope we're not moving down the path to undo much of the nuclear arms control treaties that we have put in place… I hope we're going to be able to figure out a way to stay within the treaty.”

     —Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, Oct. 21, 2018

“There is no doubt that Russia is responsible for the degradation of the INF treaty. However, withdrawing from this treaty without a comprehensive strategy for addressing its underlying strategic implications and without consulting Congress or our allies threatens long-term United States’ national security interests…Congress must now put partisan bickering aside to constrain this administration’s efforts to destroy longstanding arms control agreements, prevent a nuclear arms race and prioritize the security of all Americans.”

     —Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Oct. 21, 2018

@realDonaldTrump is so hellbent on building more nuclear weapons, he wants to cancel a treaty signed by Ronald Reagan. The INF has prevented an arms race in Europe for 30 years. Russia has violated it, & we should hold Putin accountable. Withdrawing just makes America less safe.”

     —Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Armed Services Committee, Oct. 23, 2018

“President Trump withdrawing the United States from the INF treaty would be a strategic mistake that would weaken our national security and the security of our key allies. Since the Cold War, this arms-control agreement has banned an entire class of dangerous nuclear weapons, reducing the threat of nuclear war. Russia has violated this treaty for several years, and we must take strong diplomatic actions to address that violation. However, withdrawing from the treaty will only accelerate a nuclear arms race, leaving us far less safe.”

     —Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, (D-Calif), Oct. 22, 2018

“There is no question Russia has acted in bad faith and violated the INF Treaty, which is why there has been a bipartisan consensus to push diplomatic efforts to bring Russia into compliance. We should be reinforcing efforts to strengthen and expand membership in the INF, not scrapping it.”

     —Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Oct. 22, 2018

“I think it's a big, big mistake to flippantly get out of this historic agreement that Reagan and Gorbachev signed. This was a big part of Reagan's legacy and we should not get rid of it. It was an important step. We went from 64,000 nuclear-tipped missiles down to 15,000. It has been an historic agreement. I think what we should do instead of getting out event is I've asked the president, and I advised him privately and in public, that he should appoint nuclear negotiators, nuclear arms control negotiators to actually work with the Soviets…I think John Bolton is the one advising the president to get out of the INF Treaty and I don't think he recognizes the important achievement of Reagan and Gorbachev on this. Look, I spent an hour with Gorbachev a couple of months ago and they still regard this, this reduction of nuclear arms and a disaster that would be nuclear war, I think in a very sincere manner, at least from Gorbachev, that reducing the arms was very important and I don't want to see another nuclear arms race with Russia or with any other country.”

     —Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Oct. 21, 2018

“Pulling out of the INF Treaty plays squarely into Russia’s hands while undermining America’s security and betraying our NATO allies. Without question, Russia is violating the INF Treaty. Threatening American withdrawal will not increase our negotiating leverage, it only falls hook, line, and sinker for Putin’s predictable attempts to goad the United States into justifying Russian noncompliance. The Trump administration’s naïveté is surpassed only by its recklessness. It should instead work more closely with our NATO allies to force Russia back into compliance.”

     —Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Oct. 19, 2018

"The INF treaty was rightly viewed as a remarkable achievement by President Reagan when it was ratified over 30 years ago. But today, the Russians are openly cheating, and the Chinese are stockpiling missiles because they're not bound by it at all. I've long called for the U.S. to consider whether this treaty still serves our national interest. If these reports are true, I applaud the administration for recognizing that it's time to move on."

     —Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Oct. 19, 2018


Former National Security Leaders

“Now is not the time to build larger arsenals of nuclear weapons. Now is the time to rid the world of this threat. Leaving the [INF] treaty would be a huge step backward. We should fix it, not kill it.”

     —George P. Schultz, former secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, Oct. 25, 2018

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is gravely misguided. Withdrawing will not make us safer, it will rob us of leverage essential to our own security and power. It will foolishly play into the hands of Russian propagandists by focusing global attention on our rejection of the treaty instead of Russian violations. And it will make the world a more dangerous place…The INF treaty gives us benefits, as does the other major arms control agreement, the 2010 New START treaty. Both sides are complying with New START and are benefitting from its weapons limits and verification procedures. An important step toward greater stability would be for President Trump to offer to extend New START to 2026. I urge him to do so.”

     —Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ret.), former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, (R-Indiana), Oct. 25, 2018

“President Trump announced last week the United States’ plan to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and his country’s intention to build up nuclear arms. I am being asked whether I feel bitter watching the demise of what I worked so hard to achieve. But this is not a personal matter. Much more is at stake. A new arms race has been announced. The I.N.F. Treaty is not the first victim of the militarization of world affairs.”

     —Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, Oct. 25, 2018

“The rollout of this decision put the U.S. in the position of being the one that will have killed the treaty, and that will be detrimental to our ability to work not just with Russia or China, but our allies as well, and it will be detrimental to our ability to sustain the New START Treaty, which is even more in the U.S. interest than the INF treaty,”

     —Jim Miller, former undersecretary of defense for policy under President Obama, Oct. 22, 2018

“The INF failure and the failure to get into discussions about extending New START is a sign of the U.S. sleepwalking into a new nuclear arms race. This is going to have consequences for the U.S. and our allies that we haven’t thought through."

     —Richard Burt, former U.S. chief negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty under George H.W. Bush, Oct. 22, 2018. Burt and former acting Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Thomas Countryman also co-wrote a Dec. 5, 2018 op-ed in Politico. He also co-authored an op-ed with former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher on Dec. 13, 2018 in USA Today.

“ Both sides should make a more serious effort to address respective claims of non-compliance and offer transparency and verification mechanisms to resolve the current problems with INF. They should also continue to implement the 2010 New START Treaty and agree to extend it through 2026.”

     —Sam Nunn, former U.S. Senator for Georgia, and Ernie Moniz, former Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama, Oct. 22, 2018


Joint Letters and Statements

"[W]e write out of deep concern that your administration is now abandoning generations of bipartisan U.S. leadership around the paired goals of reducing the global role and number of nuclear weapons and ensuring strategic stability with America's nuclear-armed adversaries. Your administration's efforts to double down on new, unnecessary nuclear weapons while scrapping mutually beneficial treaties risks the United States sliding into another arms race with Russia and erodes U.S. nonproliferation efforts around the world. First, to put us on a safer path, we urge you to redouble diplomatic efforts to preserve the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty rather than simply terminating it."

     —A letter to President Donald Trump signed by 26 Democratic Senators, led primarily by, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Dec. 13, 2018.

"The decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty suggests that you may take a similarly dangerous approach and renege on other key arms control agreements, such as New START, which would only serve to diminish international security further and potentially necessitate vast increases in nuclear spending. We do not believe that the degradation of our arms control agreements that have provided strategic stability for decades serves U.S. security interests or those of our allies and partners. Moving forward, before taking steps to withdraw or suspend participation in the INF Treaty, we urge you and your administration to engage with Congress on the implications of this step for strategic stability and our relations with European and Asian allies."

     —A letter to President Donald Trump from Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Mark Warner (D-Va.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dec. 3, 2018.

"We cannot allow the United States to continue to be taken advantage of by other nations....We fully support your decision to once again stand up for the interests of the United States and immediately withdraw from the INF Treaty."

     —Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) leads a letter to Trump signed by over 40 House Republican signatories, Nov. 29, 2018. The day before, Cheney, along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) had introduced a bill against New START extension.

"We remain committed to funding the necessary resources for the U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program and we support the rigorous review of continued viability of the New START the Administration is undertaking. We know you agree that arms control is not an end to itself; it is but a single tool that may be used to advance U.S. national security when carefully considered."

      —A letter led by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) of 25 Republican Senators to Trump against New START extension in light of Russian INF Treaty violations and other factors, Nov. 28, 2018.

"The repercussions of a collapse of the INF Treaty would be tremendous: it could trigger a new arms race, significantly increase the risk of nuclear escalation, further undermine political relations between the United States, Russia and Europe, and complicate a decision by Moscow and Washington to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before its scheduled expiration date in 2021. Without INF or New START, there would be no legally binding, verifiable limits on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, or indeed anywhere else in the world."

     —Statement by 20 German, U.S., and Russian Members of the trilateral Deep Cuts Commission of experts, Nov. 16, 2018.

"President Trump’s declared intention to withdraw the United States from the 1987 US-Russia Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) calls into question not only the fate of this pivotal accord but also the future of nuclear arms control, with potentially grave consequences for European security....We urge Washington and Moscow to use the coming months to explore these proposals seriously and halt the INF’s breakdown. Neither side should unilaterally withdraw without further effort."

     —Joint statement by over 80 European political, diplomatic, and military leadership figures, from 20 different countries, including Russia, organized by the European Leadership Network, Nov. 7, 2018.

"The INF Treaty has prevented the unchecked deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe, significantly reducing the risk of rapid escalation towards nuclear war. Rather than move to terminate the INF Treaty, however, we urge you to direct your team to redouble efforts to negotiate technical solutions to U.S. (and Russian) INF compliance concerns."

     —A bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump from: Susan Burk, head of the U.S. delegation to the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference; Richard R. Burt, former chief negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty; Thomas Countryman, former acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Thomas Graham Jr., Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, Disarmament; Jill Hruby, former Director, Sandia National Laboratories; Lt. Gen. Arlen D. Jameson, (USAF, Ret.), former Deputy Commander, U.S. Strategic Command; former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.); Laura E. Kennedy, former U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament; Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-Ind.) former Chairman, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Sen. Sam Nunn, (D-Ga.) former Chairman, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee; William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense; Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering; Joan Rohlfing, President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State, Nov. 7, 2018.

"The INF Treaty is a bedrock to our current arms control regime and serves rather than hampers American interests. We acknowledge fully that Russia has been violating the INF Treaty with its deployment of new ground-based cruise missiles, but American withdrawal would permit Russia to further develop such weapons unchecked by any international norms of behavior."

     —Letter to Donald Trump signed by over 50 members of a non-partisan national security association whose members all served and retired as Ambassadors, Generals, Admirals, or were permanent members of the Senior Executive Service in a position relating to national security or foreign policy, coordinated by The American College of National Security Leaders, Nov. 6, 2018.

“Instead, the Administration is opting for a dangerous approach that threatens a nuclear arms race and abandons effective diplomacy to preserve a vital arms control agreement. As you know, the INF Treaty, alongside New START Treaty, forms the basis for our strategic relationship with Russia. These treaties have been crucial tools to help preserve U.S. and European security and reduce the risk of nuclear war with Russia by ensuring mutual transparency and stability of both the U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles…We will neither support, nor enable, a precipitous course of action that increases the risk of an unconstrained nuclear arms race.”

     —Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a letter to President Donald Trump, Oct. 24, 2018.


Select Russian Reactions

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to Mike Pompeo's announcement on Dec. 5 by noting that Russia would respond “accordingly” to U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, and the chief of staff of the Russian military General Valery Gerasimov noted that U.S. missile sites on allied territory could become “targets of subsequent military exchanges.”

On Nov. 26, 2018, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov conducted a full press conference dedicated to discussing the situation around the INF Treaty. The press briefing was conducted entirely in Russian, and the transcript is available in Russian and English.


Timeline of Pivotal U.S. Statements

  • Dec. 4, 2018 - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declares Russia in "material breach" of the treaty and kicks off the 60 day countdown to U.S. treaty suspension.
  • Nov. 30, 2018 - Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats details the U.S. accusations of Russian noncompliance with the treaty.
  • Oct. 20, 2018 - President Donald Trump announces that the U.S. will be "terminating" the INF Treaty.

This is a live resource that is being continuously updated. If there are major statements or reactions of concern missing that could be added, please email [email protected] with the source. 

Shervin Taheran