Pompeo to announce U.S. suspension of landmark nuclear arms treaty

Reporting by Fin Gomez and Christina Ruffini

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will announce on Friday that the United States is suspending compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty after discussions to save the pact this week failed,  CBS News has learned.

Analysts worry ending the treaty could set off a new arms race. The pact has been an arms control focal point since the Cold War. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday it anticipates "with much regret" getting official notification of the U.S. move in the next few days. He charged that Washington has been "unwilling to hold any substantial talks" with Moscow to keep the treaty in force.

The INF was negotiated by former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, and bans the U.S. and Russia from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. President Trump announced in October that the U.S. would withdraw from the treaty due to violations by Moscow.

"Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years," Mr. Trump said after a rally in Elko, Nevada. "And we're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we're not allowed to." Mr. Trump said the U.S. would resume building missiles if Russia didn't comply.

Pompeo announced that the U.S. would suspend the treaty in 60 days on Dec. 5 at a NATO meeting. The Russian government warned it would retaliate if that happened. Talks between the two countries disintegrated this week.

Pompeo's announcement of a suspension kicks off a six-month countdown, after which the U.S. must choose whether to permanently withdraw from the pact. If Russia comes into compliance with the treaty within that time frame, the U.S. could decide not to pull out, after all.

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