On February 1, the US Government decided to unilaterally break the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed in 1987 between the US and the USSR. A day after Trump’s announcement, the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, also announced the withdrawal of this country from said treaty.
The signing of this document dates from November 8, 1987, when the president of the USA, Ronald Reagan, and the general secretary of the CPSU, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reduce tensions between the two powers. This treaty agreed on the non-proliferation of medium-range nuclear weapons (between 500 and 5,500 km) and their progressive dismantling. Such weapons had the ability to reach from the USSR to any country in Western Europe and even to the US west coast, and vice versa.
Since 2013, the different US administrations have been accusing Russia of testing with a missile that violates the agreements of the covenant. According to the North American version, the Obama administration had already tried, through diplomacy, for the Russians not to continue their development, but the missile has finally been operational since 2017. The Russians deny this accusation and claim that the Americans test mobiles shuttles and drones with characteristics similar to the missiles prohibited by the treaty.
The INF marked a key inflection point towards the thaw between the two superpowers. This historic pact allowed mutual military inspections and involved the removal of 2,692 missiles: 846 by the US and 1,846 by the Soviet Union, on the day that the treaty was completed, on 06/01/1991. Thus, if the definitive rupture of this treaty becomes a reality, the already existing conflicts (Yemen, Syria…) could be aggravated and new ones provoked, the population of third countries that do not have any kind of responsibility in that power struggle between the powers will foreseeably end up suffering its consequences. At the same time, the tremendous ecological impact that the manufacture, launch and detonation of these missiles will cause will only contribute to aggravating the environmental situation of the planet. Six months remain for pressuring the corresponding governments and for both Russia and the US to modify their position towards a responsible exit.