The end of the treaty sparks fears of a new global arms race between the two countries, which possess the world’s largest nuclear arsenals.
The Trump administration stressed it was Russia’s fault the treaty came to an end, pointing out that Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the U.S. and its allies, particularly in Europe.
“Russia alone is to blame for this situation,” the senior official said. “We have taken every opportunity — dozens and dozens of opportunities across two administrations – to bring Russia back into compliance.”
“It is clear that they are in material breach of the INF Treaty, which is, of course, not its only arms control violation. They are a serial violator of arms control agreements,” the official added, noting that “This violation, however, represents a direct security threat to the United States and our allies.”
Another White House official pointed out that Russia has been deceptive about its military buildup, particularly denying the development of a ground-launched cruise missile in 2014 that is now fielded and poses a security risk to Europe.
“Throughout the process, they lied about the existence of the missiles at both the expert level and, finally when confronted with the evidence, came clean for this in the past several months,” the official said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.