President Donald Trump has said the US will pull out of a nuclear treaty with Russia because Moscow has violated the agreement.
The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty helps protect the security of the US and its allies in Europe and the Far East.
It prohibits the US and Russia from possessing, producing or test-firing a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.
Mr Trump made the announcement during a campaign stop in Elko, Nevada, on Saturday.
He said: “Russia has not adhered to the agreement. So we are going to terminate the agreement.
“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years. I don’t know why president Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out.
“And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to.”
Mr Trump said the agreement had stopped the US developing new weapons but that they could soon start doing so – unless Russia and China agree not to possess or develop weapons.
China is not yet signed up to the pact.
The US leader said: “We’ll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say ‘let’s really get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons’.
“But if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable.”
The comments come as US national security adviser John Bolton was set to travel to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia on Saturday.
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