Annoyed at apparent breaches in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by Russia, and concerned that the increasingly powerful China was not bound by its treaty limits, US President Donald J. Trump has given notice that USA will withdraw from the treaty.
The treaty was originally signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Michail Gorbochev in 1987, as a way of removing this class of missile with ranges up to 5,500 km from Europe. Russia originally deployed the quick-launch SS-20 (Nato codename for the RSD-10) intermediate range ballistic missiles, aiming them at European cities and military establishments. In a counter move, and to much protest given Reagan’s then unpopularity within Western Europe at the time, he deployed intermediate range Pershing II ballistic and BGM-109G cruise missiles in Europe. The result was the deal to remove the class of weapon from Europe.
However, recently Russia is alleged to have tested and deployed a new cruise missile, the SSC-X-8 (the NATO codename for the Novator 9M729), a move which would be in direct contravention of the treaty. It was this act that has led USA to itself remove itself from the treaty. This has lead to protests over this move, including from former Soviet President Gorbachev himself, by those who are concerned that new nuclear arms race has begun.