Mikhail Gorbachev, the politician who led Soviet Union in its final days, is not personally upset about President Donald Trump's intention to withdraw from the landmark Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that Gorbachev signed with President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
"Much more is at stake," Gorbachev wrote Friday in a New York Times opinion column.
The piece comes several days after Trump declared his intention to pull the US out of the INF treaty, and after several years of the US saying that Russia was in violation of its terms.
The treaty banned ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers, or about 310 miles and 3,400 miles. The deal, which was approved by the US Senate in a 93-5 vote, led to the dismantling of nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles in Europe, most of which were Soviet.
"For the first time in history, two classes of nuclear weapons were to be eliminated and destroyed," Gorbachev writes.
The treaty also helped end a standoff that started in the late 1970s, when the USSR deployed SS-20 intermediate-range nuclear missiles and the US responded by deploying Pershing II nuclear missiles — deployments that prompted mass protests throughout Western Europe.
"There are still too many nuclear weapons in the world, but the American and Russian arsenals are now a fraction of what they were during the Cold War," Gorbachev writes. "Today, this tremendous accomplishment, of which our two nations can be rightfully proud, is in jeopardy."
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