According to a report at the Washington Post, Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely happy with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the INF treaty.
On Saturday morning, Putin announced that he had suspended the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty after the United States said it would withdraw from the arms control pact and accused Moscow of violations.
An analysis by the Post claims that Trump played into the Kremlin’s hands and allowed Putin to fulfill a dream he has had for years.
According to the Post’s Aaron Blake, “It’s true that this [Trump’s decision] is a significant action that ostensibly punishes Russia — one that the Obama administration resisted, even though it also concluded that Russia was violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, forged at the tail end of the Cold War.”
“But that was in large part because it feared a revamped nuclear arms race, not necessarily because it was afraid of holding Russia accountable,” he continues. “Even if Russia was violating the treaty, the reasoning went, it was better to leave it in place as a deterrent.”
But, as he noted, Putin expressed a wish to withdraw back in 2007.
“We need to convince other (countries) to assume the same level of obligation as assumed by the Russian Federation and the United States,” Putin stated. “If we are unable to obtain such a goal … it will be difficult for us to keep within the framework of the treaty in a situation where other countries do develop such weapon systems, and among those are countries located in our near vicinity.”
He later complained that the treaty limited Russia and gave too large of an advantage to the U.S.
“What we ultimately got was a clear imbalance: the United States has kept its medium-range missiles. It does not matter whether they are based at sea, in the air, or on land; however, the Soviet Union was simply left without this type of weapons,” he said.
“That doesn’t sound like someone who will be particularly unhappy without the treaty — which he argued was stacked against his country to begin with,” Blake suggested. “The Russians’ flouting of the treaty contributes to the idea that this was punitive, but Russia in some ways seemed to be goading the United States to cancel it.”
According to a report from Reuters, Putin is already making plans to beef up Russia’s military capabilities.
“Putin said Russia will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, accusing the United States of being slow to respond to such moves,” the news service reported.
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