Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) today released the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:
“I applaud President Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The blame for the demise of the treaty lies solely with the leadership of the Russian Federation, which flagrantly violated its obligations under the treaty for years by possessing, producing, or flight testing a ground-launched cruise missile with a prohibited range. The cruise missile gives Russia the capability to strike critical targets in European allied territory with high accuracy while firing from concealed ground locations.
“Successive Administrations gave the Russian Federation multiple opportunities to come back into compliance with the terms of the treaty. Under Congressional leadership, the Obama and Trump Administrations also explored a range of INF Treaty compliant and non-compliant options to address Russia’s violations. Rather than coming back into compliance, the Russian Federation chose to increase the scope and seriousness of its violations over the past decade.
“By taking a step to withdraw from the treaty, the Administration is signaling to its treaty partners around the world that violations will not be tolerated. Treaties are only valuable if both parties adhere to their terms and share an understanding of their purpose. Letting Russian violations go unanswered would embolden other potential violators and be detrimental to the security of the U.S. and our allies.
“While the INF Treaty was a truly remarkable achievement foreshadowing the end of the Cold War, the world has changed. It is imperative the United States has the option of utilizing the operational advantages of land-based intermediate range strike systems, particularly conventional ones, and augment other elements of U.S. forces if the need arises.”