Trump Says U.S. to Withdraw From Nuclear Treaty With Russia

By Alex Leary and Peter Nicholas (Wall Street Journal)

Oct. 20, 2018 7:31 p.m. ET

President contends Moscow is violating pact and raises prospect of developing new weapons

President Trump said Saturday he will withdraw the U.S. from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, contending that Russia “violated the agreement” and raising the prospect of developing a new set of weapons.

"They have been violating it for many years,” Mr. Trump said after a campaign rally in Nevada. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”

Russia has denied violating the 1987 INF treaty, which was worked out by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and prohibits the use of intermediate- and shorter-range rockets, as well as testing, producing or fielding new ground-based missiles.

Russia is developing a missile system known as 9M729, though Moscow says it is in full compliance with the pact.

The U.S. has been researching a missile to counter the threat of Russia and China, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported.

“Our effort is to bring Russia back into compliance,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said late last year. “It is not to walk away from the treaty.”


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Earlier this month the U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Kay Bailey Hutchison, caused a stir when she said that Washington could choose to “take out” the new Russian missiles. “They are on notice,” she said.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump said, “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.”

The Russian embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Trump’s statements come as national security adviser John Bolton is headed to Russia next week for meetings.

In Moscow, Mr. Bolton will meet his national security counterpart along with Russian defense and foreign ministers, according to a senior administration official.

Mr. Bolton will go on to Azerbaijan to discuss regional issues including Iran before continuing to Armenia and Georgia.

Mr. Bolton, while in Moscow, plans to discuss North Korea, Ukraine and Syria, among other issues, the official said.

He will emphasize the importance of maintaining sanctions against North Korea to sustain pressure on the regime to give up nuclear weapons, the official said. “The Russians and Chinese have suggested it might be time to ease up on sanctions. That is not our view and we won’t relent,” he added.

Write to Alex Leary at and Peter Nicholas at