By Jesse Stiller
President Donald Trump stated on Oct. 20 that the U.S. will pull out of a Reagan-era nuclear treaty with Russia that limits the number of missiles both countries are allowed to have, according to USA Today.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed into effect in 1987 between former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty was declared dead by Trump during a question and answer session in Reno, Nevada, according to The Atlantic.
“‘Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years. And 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, and we’re not allowed to,’” Trump said before boarding Air Force One after the rally in Nevada, according to WhiteHouse.gov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ignored Trump’s statements, according to BBC. He did add, however, that if the U.S. were to strike, Russia would be sure to strike back.
The reaction was different for U.S. citizens. A poll cited by Vox conducted by Civics Analysis between Oct. 20 and 22 surveyed 5,960 likely voters in the upcoming midterm elections and found that 49 percent of citizens were opposed to ending the deal, while 31 percent wanted the withdraw to happen. The other 20 percent of people polled were unsure of their choice.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg supported the move, agreeing that Russia had violated the treaty on numerous occasions, according to CBS News.
“The treaty is not working if it’s only being respected by one side. The problem, the threat, the challenge is the Russian behavior, which has been ongoing for a long time,” Stoltenberg said, according to CBS News.
Trump has not officially pulled out of the treaty as of Oct. 27, and has no formal plans yet to do so. Russia’s plans, regardless of an official decision, remain unknown.