WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that the United States is prepared to withdraw from a crucial weapons treaty signed by the world's two biggest nuclear powers.
Pompeo offered Russia an ultimatum: come into compliance in 60 days or the United States will leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty.
Russia, Pompeo said, has developed "multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles," a move that falls outside of the Cold War-era arms agreement.
"Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe," he said after a meeting with his NATO counterparts.
"Russia's violation of the INF Treaty erodes the foundations of effective arms control and undermines Allied security. This is part of Russia's broader pattern of behavior that is intended to weaken the overall Euro-Atlantic security architecture," wrote NATO foreign ministers in a joint statement.
"We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty."