UPDATED 8:28 AM PT — Thursday, January 31, 2019
The clock is running out for Russia to comply with the nuclear treaty it has with the U.S. Little progress was made Thursday as representatives from the U.S. met with their Russian counterparts at a conference held in Beijing.
The U.S. is demanding Russia destroy its arsenal of long-range missiles, arguing the weapons violate policies put in place by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
President Trump said he would pull out of the agreement by early February if Moscow doesn’t start dismantling the missile system.
“Arms control regimes only work if standards are maintained, and if there are consequences for violating those standards, so if parties are to the treaty, and you abide by that standard, that’s what we expect,” stated Andrea Thompson, U.S. Under Secretary of Arms Control and International Security. “If you don’t abide by that standard and the other parties allow it to manifest, you’ve now set a new standard, and that undermines all of our arms control regimes.”
Russia, however, believes its missile system is not in violation of the treaty. Russian officials at the meeting slammed the ultimatum issued by the U.S. as “blackmailing” efforts to stop “dialogue.