U.S. suspends nuclear treaty with Russia, plans to pull out in 6 months

President Donald Trump on Friday said the U.S. is suspending its involvement in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and would start the process of withdrawing entirely in six months.

"For far too long, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with impunity, covertly developing and fielding a prohibited missile system that poses a direct threat to our allies and troops abroad," Trump said in a statement.

The U.S. will "suspend" INF Treaty obligations starting Saturday and begin withdrawing from the treaty over the course of six months "unless Russia comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment," the statement said.

Related: Trump pulls U.S. from Iran nuclear deal:

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Trump pulls US from Iran nuclear deal
US President Donald Trump signs a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump signs a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question from the media after announcing his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement during a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump announces his intent to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that re-instates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. After two and a half years of negotiations, Iran agreed in 2015 to end its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries, including the United States, lifting decades of economic sanctions. Since then international inspectors have not found any violations of the terms by Iran. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump announces his decision on the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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The INF Treaty prevents the U.S. and Russia from possessing any land-based cruise missiles that can strike within a 500 to 5,500 kilometers — 310 to 3,410 miles — range.

The deal signed in 1987 by President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev was primarily designed to keep ground-based nuclear weapons out of Europe.

Russia has been in violation of the Cold War era arms control agreement for more than five years. The U.S. gave Russia 60 days to return to compliance in December when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting that Russia was in "material breach" of the treaty.

Trump's statement Friday said that NATO allies of the U.S. support the decision to withdraw from the agreement "because they understand the threat posed by Russia's violation and the risks to arms control posed by ignoring treaty violations."

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