UPDATED 8:03 AM PT — Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Russian lawmakers have passed a bill, which would suspend the country’s participation in a key nuclear treaty with the United States.
In an executive order signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday., Russia’s lower chamber of parliament overwhelmingly voted to exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The bill must now be endorsed by the upper chamber of parliament before moving to Putin’s desk.
This comes in response to the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the treaty back in February despite push-back from European Union leaders.
“The demise of the International-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, should it be allowed to happen, would make the world a more insecure and unstable plac,” stated Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General. “That insecurity and instability will be keenly felt here in Europe, and we simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War.”
The U.S. cited Russia’s continued development of long-range missiles as the reason for withdrawal. Meanwhile, both sides have accused each other of violating the 1987 agreement.