Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision on Friday as the Trump administration maintained that the Russian government has been unwilling to admit that a missile it has deployed near European borders violates the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early December that Washington would give Moscow 60 days to return to compliance before it gave formal notice of withdrawal, with actual withdrawal taking place six months later.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has sought a warm relationship with Trump but is widely reviled by the USA establishment, has declared that the United States withdrawal would set off a new arms race. The measures against the alleged activities included a "research and development program on a ground-launched intermediate-range missile", which, somehow, should not violate the treaty itself.
Russian Federation has consistently denied being in violation of the treaty, and on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said talks with the U.S. hadn't yielded progress. "Russia's violation puts millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk".
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said military commanders will begin preparing for "a world without an INF treaty" but insisted the alliance was still committed to arms reduction.
The official noted that it will take the USA some time to decide what additional missile capabilities will be deployed once the treaty is no longer in force, and said that the U.S.is only looking at conventional as opposed to nuclear options.
Russian Federation said the missile's range put it outside the treaty, and accused the U.S. of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty it wants to leave anyway so it can develop new missiles.
Administration officials have dismissed concerns that the treaty's demise could trigger a race to develop and deploy more intermediate-range missiles.
The future of the treaty is still unknown as President Trump pushes for China to come under its authority, and continues to claim Russian Federation has long flouted the rules. It was the first treaty to ban an entire class of weapons: ground-launched cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 500km. But U.S. and NATO officials have for years argued that Russian Federation was in violation of the treaty. "We can not be the only country bound by a treaty".
USA officials suggest the six-month window is Russia's last chance to return to compliance.
"I "congratulate" the whole world; the United States has taken another step toward its destruction today", Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, said after Mr Trump's announcement.
"They are probably beginning a race to exhaust us economically", he said.
That treaty, which also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers, expires in February 2021, can be extended by five years if both sides agree. In a statement, the NATO nations said that "Allies fully support this action" and "Russia will bear sole responsibility for the end of the Treaty".
"For any arms control treaty to be effective, every party must abide by its terms", she said. Bolton has a much more clear-eyed view of Vladimir Putin and his imperial ambitions than Trump or his previous two predecessors had until they themselves got burned badly enough.