US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that his country will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, a decades-old pact limiting strategic weapons development.
Trump made the remarks to reporters after attending a rally in the state of Nevada. He accused Russia of violating the 1987 treaty without providing any evidence.
"The agreement has been violated for many years," he said.
"We'll have to develop those weapons," Trump added.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Elko Regional Airport in Elko, Nevada, US, October 20, 2018. /VCG Photo
Trump's words came as his National Security Adviser John Bolton was heading to Russia on Saturday, and reportedly was told to tell Russian leaders about the US plan to exit the landmark deal.
The INF treaty, signed by the former Soviet Union and the United States, bans the development, deployment and testing of ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 miles (483 km) and 3,400 miles (5,472 km).
Moscow and Washington have repeatedly accused each other of violating the treaty.
In May, a Russian military official claimed that the United States continues testing its missile defense systems and producing missiles which are prohibited by the INF treaty.
Supporters react as US President Donald Trump addresses a "Make America Great Again" rally at Elko Regional Airport in Elko, Nevada, October 20, 2018. /VCG Photo
US dreams of 'unipolar world' in nuclear deal pull-out: Russia
Washington's move to pull out of a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia is motivated by a dream of a single global superpower, Russian state news agencies on Saturday cited a foreign ministry source as saying.
"The main motive is a dream of a unipolar world. Will it come true? No," a foreign ministry source told RIA Novosti state news agency.
The official said that Russia has "many times publicly denounced the US policy course towards dismantling the nuclear deal."
Washington "has approached this step over the course of many years by deliberately and step by step destroying the basis for the agreement," the official said, quoted by Russia's three main news agencies.
"This decision is part of the US policy course to withdraw from those international legal agreements that place equal responsibilities on it and its partners and make vulnerable its concept of its own 'exceptionalism'," the official said.