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 (anticipated Feb. 2) unless Russia returns to compliance. On Feb. 1, the administration confirmed that the United States would simultaneously suspend its obligations under the treaty and also submit formal notification of withdrawal the following day—on Feb. 2.
A collection of select reactions from international partners, members of Congress, and former national security policymakers, from after both the Oct. 20, Dec. 4, and Feb. 1 announcements, is provided below and will be updated as further reactions arise.
List curated by: Shervin Taheran, with assistance from Sasha Partan
Reactions between October and December 2018
Reactions between January and February 2019
"For us Europeans, if I may be so bold, the really bad news this year was the announcement of the cancelling of the INF Treaty. After not decades, but years of violations of the terms of the treaty by Russia, this was unavoidable. We Europeans all understood this. Nevertheless – and I say this to our American colleagues – it leaves us with a very interesting constellation: a treaty that was essentially designed for Europe, an arms reduction treaty that directly affects our security, has been cancelled by the United States of America and Russia (the legal successor to the Soviet Union). And we are left sitting there. Given our elemental interest we will obviously make every attempt to facilitate further arms reduction. The answer cannot be a blind arms race."
—Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, speaking at the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Feb. 16, 2019
“The implications are enormous … but let me start with the assessment that it was Russia who broke the treaty; the treaty does not exist if only one party observes; so NATO decided to support the decision of the United States to withdraw from the treaty, and we are not very much in favor—we are definitely even against—deployment of missiles on our soil. But, we will work out the solution with our allies in NATO because it must be [a] united response to [the] Russian threat in that case. So I do not accept your assessment, or your opinion, that we are willing to host rockets or missiles on our territory … if we do it, it will be a decision of all the alliance.”
—Jacek Czaputowicz, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the 2019 Munich Security Conference discussion panel on the future of defense cooperation, Feb. 15, 2019
"All [NATO] Allies stand ready to engage further with Russia. But we are also preparing for a world without the INF Treaty. And Defence Ministers discussed this today. NATO is currently assessing the consequences of Russia’s breach of the Treaty. I will not pre-empt the outcome of this process. But any steps we take will be defensive, measured and coordinated. And we do not intend to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. NATO will continue to maintain credible and effective deterrence and defence. At the same time, Allies remain committed to effective arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation. NATO does not want a new arms race."
—NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at press conference following NATO meeting, Feb. 13, 2019
"The position expressed by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation regarding the violation of the provisions of the INF Treaty by NATO’s missile defence system, whose components are also deployed at Deveselu, is completely irrelevant, whereas the Deveselu anti-missile system is not subject to the INF Treaty."...."We reiterate that NATO’s missile defence system at Deveselu, whose components are hosted by Romania, has no offensive capability, being a purely defensive instrument, essential for ensuring the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. The concept of NATO’s missile defence system represents a proportional response to current threats and complies with all international commitments, including the INF Treaty. Any attempt by the Russian Federation to deny this fact is a flagrant disinformation and an attempt to distract attention from the real violation of the INF Treaty by the Russian state. We remind that the position of Romania and its Allies on the INF was clearly expressed in the Declaration of the North Atlantic Council from 1 February 2019."
—Press Release from Romania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feb. 8, 2019
“As the treaty has played a historic role in arms control and reduction, it is undesirable that the treaty be ended … The issue of missiles under the treaty is directly linked to security in East Asia. (Japan) will communicate with relevant countries, including Russia and China, while cooperating with the United States"
—Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, Feb. 4, 2019
“The multilateralization of the INF Treaty involves a series of complex issues covering political, military and legal fields, which draws concerns from many countries. China opposes the multilateralization of this treaty. What is imperative at the moment is to uphold and implement the existing treaty instead of creating a new one.”
—China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Geng Shuang, Feb. 2, 2019
“France calls on Russia to use the six-month period triggered by the suspension of U.S. obligations provided for under the INF Treaty in order to return to full compliance. During this period of time, France will continue to promote in-depth dialogue with Russia and to coordinate closely with its NATO allies … France encourages Russia and the United States to extend the New Start treaty on their nuclear arsenals beyond 2021 and to negotiate a replacement treaty.”
—Statement by the French foreign ministry, Feb. 1, 2019
“Lack of mutual trust has led to persistent accusations of treaty violations that could not be efficiently resolved. The US and Russia must work harder. The aim of the dialogue should obviously be to preserve the INF.”
—Statement by Austrian Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, Feb. 1 , 2019
“Deeply concerned by the state of nuclear arms control after US announcement to suspend the INF. Fundamental cause is Russia’s non-compliance. Trend of less cooperation on disarmament must be reversed and new ways forward explored. Joint responsibility to avoid nuclear arms race.”
—Tweet by Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, Feb. 1, 2019
"As a result, the United States is suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty in response to Russia’s material breach, and is providing the requisite six-month written notice to Treaty Parties of its withdrawal under Article XV of the INF Treaty. The United States is taking this action in response to the significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security posed by Russia’s covert testing, production, and fielding of 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems. Allies fully support this action...Unless Russia honours its INF Treaty obligations through the verifiable destruction of all of its 9M729 systems, thereby returning to full and verifiable compliance before the U.S. withdrawal takes effect in six months, Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the Treaty."
—Statement on Russia's failure to comply with the INF Treaty issued by the NATO North Atlantic Council, Brussels, Feb. 1, 2019
"If the United States announces it will suspend compliance with the INF nuclear missile pact with Russia, Germany will use the six-month period that the formal withdrawal period lasts to hold further discussions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday. “If it does come to a cancellation today, we will do everything possible to use the six-month window to hold further talks,” she said. “It is clear to us that Russia has violated this treaty... The important thing is to keep the window for dialogue open.”
—Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, as reported by Reuters, Feb. 1, 2019
"We have to make sure that NATO continues to provide a credible and effective deterrence and defence. At the same time, we don’t want a new cold war, we don’t want a new arms race, so what we will do will be measured, it will be defensive, and we don’t mirror what Russia does, missile for missile or plane for plane, or battle tank for battle tank. We need to make sure that we have effective credible deterrence, but not necessarily mirroring exactly what Russia does. And at the same time, we will continue to work for arms control and I also welcome the initiative by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to convene a conference in Berlin, to address arms control and how to make progress on arms control. So, we will of course address the military aspects, but also continue to work for effective arms control."
—NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg press conference in Brussels following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, Jan. 25, 2019.
"The Cold War times have passed. We don't need an rearmament debate, we need a debate about disarming. We cannot answer today's security questions with the deterrence ideologies from last century...Even if we are unable to save the INF Treaty, we cannot allow the result to be a renewed arms race. We cannot establish peace and security against one another, only with one another....European security will not be improved by deploying more nuclear-armed, medium-range missiles. I believe that is the wrong answer."
—Heiko Maas, Germany’s Foreign Minister in a Spiegel Online interview, Jan. 11, 2019
"Withdrawing from the INF treaty with absolutely nothing in its place to contain the expansion of these destabilizing systems is a serious mistake and could spark a new arms race. America is stronger when it works with others and builds alliances; presidents of both parties have demonstrated this, but sadly President Trump seems to be more interested in ending alliances than strengthening them.”
—Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 2, 2019
"This is an unfortunate reality, but we will not handcuff ourselves. Putin's adventurism & chronic violations of the INF puts the US & our NATO allies' security at risk. The world community must urge Russia to use these six months & return to compliance."
—Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Feb. 2, 2019
“Congress must not allow the Trump administration to plunge the United States into a 21st-century nuclear arms race. This dangerous policy would undermine our national security, divide us from our allies, play directly into Putin's hands, and place peace in Europe at risk. Instead, we must support effective diplomacy, invest in our national security and propose smart policies to keep our country, along with our European allies, secure, free and prosperous.”
—Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Chairmen of House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee (respectively), Feb. 1, 2019
“I served as a Russian policy officer in the U.S. Navy and worked to implement our nuclear agreements with the Russian Federation. I can tell you bluntly that the decision announced by the administration today is wrong-headed, and does not make our country safer. Since the Cold War, the United States has worked alongside our closest allies to limit nuclear weapons in our world, and this decision reverses thirty years of work started under President Reagan towards nuclear non-proliferation.”
—Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), Member of House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
“The administration’s ideological aversion to arms control as a tool for advancing national security is endangering our safety, as well as that of our allies and partners. The risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding is already higher than at any point since the end of the Cold War, and this decision only makes it worse,” Smith continued. “President Trump withdrawing from this treaty reopens a field of competition with yet another class of nuclear weapons and, perhaps ironically, reverses one of President Reagan’s most important historical achievements in a way that benefits Moscow. We must not allow Russia to receive a free pass for violating the INF Treaty, which is exactly what the Trump administration is handing President Putin.”
—Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
"Of course the Russians have been cheating on the INF treaty for years; the question is how we punish them for cheating,” said Cooper. “The Trump approach is to reward them by withdrawing from the treaty ourselves. If a student cheats on a test, does the teacher suddenly decide the test doesn’t count? No, we should rally NATO, the main beneficiaries of this treaty, to condemn Russia. But our President has been too soft on Russia and too hard on NATO. He’s got it backwards.”
—Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
"I have had serious concerns that the Trump Administration lacks a coherent strategy to address the threat new Russian cruise missiles pose to the interests of the United States and those of our allies. President Trump clearly lacks an appreciation or understating of the importance of arms control treaties and today’s withdrawal is yet another geostrategic gift to Vladimir Putin. With the renewal of the New START agreement coming up next year, I strongly urge the administration try a new approach and develop a coherent strategy to stabilize our arms control regime."
—Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
“The Kremlin is a bad actor and hasn’t been in compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty for some time, but if the United States is to withdraw, there must be a plan in place to prevent proliferation...I urge the President to consult with our transatlantic allies, NATO, the U.S. intelligence community and Senate Foreign Relations Committee members about how to proceed and ensure there is an established strategy before the six-month period of withdrawal expires.”
—Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and Member of Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
"Russian actions represent a material breach of the treaty, and it is abundantly clear: the United States is the only country limited by the INF Treaty. The Russian government has had endless opportunities to change their bad behavior, and over the past 60 days has proven its disinterest in doing so. The time has come to set the treaty aside and develop alternative avenues toward the security the treaty once provided."
—Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
"I’m pleased that the United States will begin the process to formally withdraw. Our NATO allies fully support this action, and continued consultation is critical. We cannot keep jeopardizing our partners, troops and infrastructure for a one-sided treaty."
—Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 1, 2019
"By contrast, withdrawing from the treaty would benefit Russia more than it helps the United States. Without the constraints imposed by the treaty, Russia could deploy not only the 9M729 missile but many follow-on ones that could strike deep into Europe. By contrast, U.S. allies, whether in Europe or Asia, have shown no appetite for hosting American INF-range missiles, raising serious doubts about any supposed benefits the United States can gain by leaving the treaty. Regardless, America’s air-launched and sea-based nuclear missiles are more than sufficient for deterring Russia in Europe. For these reasons, I urge you to keep the United States in the INF Treaty for the time being, while ramping up the diplomatic pressure on Russia and others to comply with the treaty."
—Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Chairman of House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, Jan. 31, 2019
“We face a greater risk of nuclear catastrophe than ever before in history. The threat of nuclear war is real. President Trump’s reckless decision to pull out of the INF Treaty heightens this threat by exacerbating the new Cold War, sparking a new arms race between the United States and Russia, bringing us ever closer to a nuclear holocaust ... The INF Treaty Compliance Act would ensure that our country remains compliant with the INF Treaty, prohibiting a single taxpayer dollar from being used for weapons that would breach the treaty."
—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Member of House Committee on Armed Services, Feb. 15, 2019
"This is a troubling retreat from an international arms treaty that has made America safer for over 30 years. My colleagues & I have introduced a bill to require the Administration be transparent on this before it rushes into a new arms race with Russia."
—Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cali.), Member of Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Feb. 1, 2019
"Trump’s withdrawal from the INF treaty is dangerous and irresponsible. We should strengthen these treaties, not end them. We should invest in our children, our seniors and our working families, not in an incredibly expensive arms race."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Ranking Member of Senate Committee on the Budget, Member of Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Feb. 1, 2019
“President Trump’s imminent unilateral withdrawal from a bipartisan weapons treaty with Russia, without consulting Congress, would mean the Prevention of Arms Race Act is more important than ever. A reckless withdrawal would further damage our relationships with our allies, Russia would not be legally constrained from deploying larger numbers of their previously prohibited missiles, and the world would be much less safe. I urge my colleagues to support this bill to prevent a new arms race”
—Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Member of Senate Committee on Armed Services, Jan. 31, 2019
Reactions between October to December 2018
"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.
“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...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.”
—Gavin Williamson, UK Defense Secretary, to the Financial Times, Oct. 20, 2018
"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."
—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.
"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."
—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.
"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.
"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
“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
“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
"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
“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...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
—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.
—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.
March 4, 2019 – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dunford met with Russian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Gerasimov. Their discussion included issues of regional stability, missile defense, as well as New START and the INF Treaty.
Feb. 10, 2019 – The German newspaper Spiegel, citing a high-ranking Western official, reports the four deployment locations of Russia’s four battalions armed with the 9M729 cruise missile (whose existence was reported by the Wall Street Journal one month prior). Some are located within NATO striking distance.
Feb. 7, 2019 - Andrea Thompson, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, has an interview on PBS Newshour.
“No, We're not trying to get Russia in an arms race. As I tell folks, we have remained in compliance with the INF Treaty and all of our other arms control treaties, where Russia has violated that. So, when folks point to an arms race, my counterpoint is that Russia started an arms race. And it started eight years ago, when it violated the INF.”
Feb. 5, 2019 – President Trump delivers the State of the Union Address
“Under my Administration, we will never apologize for advancing America's interests. For example, decades ago the United States entered into a treaty with Russia in which we agreed to limit and reduce our missile capabilities. While we followed the agreement to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms. That is why I announced that the United States is officially withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty. Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't --- in which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far."
Feb. 2, 2019 – The State Department officially announces withdrawal from the INF Treaty.
Jan. 15, 2019 - Undersecretary Andrea Thompson and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov meet in Geneva for two hours to discuss “inter-departmental consultations on the problems of the INF Treaty” and its future.
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 “how Russia has violated the treaty, how they have denied its violation, and the broader security implications of this violation.”
Oct. 20, 2018 - President Donald Trump announces that the U.S. will be "terminating" the INF Treaty.
“We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement, and we’ve honored the agreement. But Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement. So we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”
March 4, 2019 - Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order “to suspend the implementation” of the INF treaty “until the United States of America rectifies its violations of the said Treaty or until it expires.”
Feb. 22, 2019 - Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers the annual Address to the Federal Assembly.
“I have already said this and I want to repeat: Russia does not intend – this is very important, I am repeating this on purpose – Russia does not intend to deploy such missiles in Europe first. If they really are built and delivered to the European continent, and the United States has plans for this, at least we have not heard otherwise, it will dramatically exacerbate the international security situation, and create a serious threat to Russia, because some of these missiles can reach Moscow in just 10–12 minutes. This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced, I would like to emphasise this, we will be forced to respond with mirror or asymmetric actions.”
Later that day, Putin held a press conference with the Russian media.
“[The Americans] are creating more and more problems. There are joint mechanisms and instruments for dealing with these problems. I hope they will be used to prevent a new global crises such as the Cuban missile crisis. There are no reasons for this, no reasons for aggravating the international situation to this level.”
Feb. 11, 2019 - Press release about the INF Treaty from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Seeking to justify its destructive decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty, the United States is waging a propaganda campaign that is based on an unscrupulous interpretation and bare-faced assumptions. Apart from underhanded attempts to place the blame squarely on Russia, the United States is deliberately downplaying the importance and validity of Russia’s longstanding concerns about Washington’s compliance with the INF Treaty.”
Feb. 4, 2019 - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation released a comment from Russia’s Information and Press Department in response to the NATO Council statement on Russia's failure to comply with the INF Treaty.
“This is yet another demonstration of the fact that NATO has fully blended with Washington’s line aimed at the final scrapping of the arms control system painstakingly built over many years. The collapse of the INF Treaty will have grave and far-reaching consequences for the entire European security architecture NATO is allegedly deeply concerned about – and naturally, for the US allies in Europe.”
Feb. 2, 2019 - Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Foreign Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, where he addressed Russia's reaction to the United States' withdrawal from the INF treaty.
“All our proposals in this area remain on the table just as before. We are open to negotiations. At the same time, I ask both ministries (Defense and Foreign Affairs) not to initiate talks on these matters in the future. I suggest that we wait until our partners are ready to engage in equal and meaningful dialogue on this subject that is essential for us, as well as for our partners and the entire world.”
“Our response will be symmetrical. Our US partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the INF Treaty, and we are suspending it too. They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same.”
Jan. 23, 2019 - The Russian Defence Ministry conducted a military briefing with a presentation of the 9M729 missile of the Iskander-M complex for foreign military attaches.
Dec. 5, 2018 - Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to Mike Pompeo's announcement of the 60 day countdown to U.S. treaty suspension. Putin noted that Russia would respond “accordingly” to U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty and General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian military, noted that U.S. missile sites on allied territory could become “targets of subsequent military exchanges.”
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 English transcript is available online.
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.