5 things to know about threatened US-Russia nuclear weapons deal

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Russian Federation has been accused in recent years of breaching the treaty including by then US President Barack Obama in 2014 after Moscow allegedly tested a banned missile.

It was signed near the end of the Cold War, a period of relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1989 marked by intense global tension and overshadowed by the threat of nuclear conflict. The treaty helped end the nuclear arms race, introducing control "that could not be found in other documents", Gorbachev was cited as saying.

But Trump also hinted that talks could be possible if "Russia comes to us ... and they say, 'Let's all of us get smart and let's none of us develop those weapons'".

In 2014, then US President Barack Obama accused Russian Federation of breaching the INF after it allegedly tested a ground-launched cruise missile.

A report published by The New York Times on Saturday said that if the U.S. did leave the treaty, it was likely to deploy a version of the Tomahawk cruise missile that has been redesigned so it can be launched from land.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement Sunday that the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is "an important pillar of our European security architecture" and Trump's announcement "raises hard questions for us and Europe".

The agreement came towards the tail end of the cold war - and eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 500-1,000 kilometers (310-620 mi) (short-range) and 1,000-5,500 km (620-3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The U.S. and Russian Federation own the lion's share of the world's nukes with a combined total of approximately 13,350 nuclear weapons. He said any attempt by the Trump administration to leave the treaty will spark a fight with Congress.

"We hope that we will hear from him during meetings, tomorrow and the day after, more substantively and clearly what the American side intends to undertake", said Ryabkov.

Other factors too may have played into President Trump's decision, according to some media outlets.

Trump's plan also is causing jitters in Germany, site of peace protests in the early 1980s against the stationing of USA intermediate-range nuclear missiles to counter the threat of Soviet SS-20s.

Has Russia breached the treaty?

"But I do think, if we pull out, we really do need to think about how we are going to, right now because we don't have the same capability as the Russians have with this particular missile".

The latest rift could have "the most lamentable consequences", political analyst Alexei Arbatov told Interfax news agency, dragging Russian Federation into a "new cycle of the arms race".

The last time the USA withdrew from a major arms treaty was in 2002, when President George W Bush pulled the U.S. out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which banned weapons created to counter ballistic nuclear missiles.

His administration put forward plans to set up a missile shield in Europe but that was scrapped by President Obama during his term in office.

The New York Times reported recently that Donald Trump is concerned that the treaty is only between Washington and Moscow, and that China is not involved. It was replaced by a modified defence system in 2016. The treaty resulted in the destruction of some 2,692 missiles by mid-1991.

Deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute Malcolm Chalmers told the Guardian the situation was more serious than at any time since the 1980s, adding, "If the INF treaty collapses, and with the New Start treaty on strategic arms due to expire in 2021, the world could be left without any limits on the nuclear arsenals of nuclear states for the first time since 1972".

In 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin declared the treaty no longer served Russia's interests.

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