In response to President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia on Saturday, Mikhail Gorbachev called the move “reckless and not the work of a great mind,” the New York Times reported.
Gorbachev, 87, was a signatory to the treaty which was agreed upon in 1987 with President Ronald Reagan. President Trump decided to back out of the agreement because of the Russian violation of the pact after it secretly deployed a new cruise missile, as reported by the New York Times.
In an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax, Gorbachev called Trump’s decision a “threat to peace” and a “mistake” and added that this “very strange” move will undermine all efforts that were made by the leaders of the former Soviet Union and the United States to achieve nuclear disarmament.
“Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements. Is it really that hard to understand that rejecting these agreements is, as the people say, not the work of a great mind.”
Gorbachev, who served as the last leader of the Soviet Union and considers nuclear disarmament a part of his legacy, said that it is essential to preserve all agreements that limit nuclear proliferation or aim at nuclear disarmament so as to preserve life on earth, per the New York Times.
The INF treaty completely removed all nuclear and conventional missiles and launchers with ranges between 310 and 3,420 miles, and played a major role in ending the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, according to an earlier report by the Inquisitr.
Commenting on the decision to end the treaty, President Trump said that Russia had been violating the treaty for many years, and blamed the Obama administration for their lukewarm attitude toward the issue.
“I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” Trump said.
“We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement. But Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement. So we’re gonna terminate the agreement. We’re gonna pull out.”
Upon suspecting violations, the Obama administration had sent Russia a formal notification four years ago. According to a 2014 report by CNN, a senior State Department official said that the Russian violation of the treaty was a “very serious matter which [the U.S.] attempted to address with Russia for some time,” and added that the U.S. is committed to the viability of the INF treaty.
“We encourage Russia to return to compliance with its obligations under the Treaty and to eliminate any prohibited items in a verifiable manner,” the senior official told CNN.