President Donald Trump on Monday told reporters the United States will build up its nuclear stockpile “until people come to their senses,” days after announcing he was pulling the country out of a nuclear agreement with Russia.
Speaking outside the White House, Trump criticized Russia for not adhering to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed between former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The treaty banned all land-based cruise missiles with a range of between 310 miles and 3,417 miles.
“This should have been done years ago,” Trump said Monday about his decision to withdraw from the INF. “Until people come to their senses, we have more money than anybody else by far. We’ll build [the United States’ nuclear arsenal] up until they come to their senses.
“When they do, then we’ll all be smart and we’ll all stop. And by the way, not only stop, we’ll reduce, which I would love to do. But right now, they have not adhered to the agreement.”
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Trump announced Saturday the United States will pull out of the agreement unless other countries quit violating the INF.
“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” Trump said Saturday. “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” Trump said. “We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement but Russian has not, unfortunately …. so were going to terminate the agreement.”
On Sunday, Russia condemned Trump’s plan. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said it would be a “very dangerous step.”
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“Apparently, inability and unwillingness to come to terms with us on a sound foundation push certain forces in Washington to encourage the country’s leadership to make a decision on a formal withdrawal from the treaty,” he said. “This would be a very dangerous step, which, I’m sure, won’t be just understood by the international community, but arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community, who are committed to security and stability, and are ready to work on strengthening the current regimes in arms control.”
Ryabkov said Russia has strictly adhered to the treaty, and accused the United States of violating its terms and seeking to exit the deal as it “creates problems for pursuing the line towards the U.S. total domination in military sphere.”
He also referred to efforts by the United States to get out of the deal as “blackmail” with the purpose of achieving concessions from Moscow in international security issues.
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Ryabkov said Russia would adopt a number of retaliatory measures if the United States continues to unilaterally withdraw from agreements.
National security adviser John Bolton traveled Monday to Moscow where he was expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian security adviser Nikolai Patrushev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.