Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an annual nationwide televised phone-in show in Moscow, June 20, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an annual nationwide televised phone-in show in Moscow, June 20, 2019.

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill suspending Russia's participation in a pivotal nuclear arms treaty.

Putin's decree released on Wednesday formalizes Russia's departure from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with the United States following Washington's withdrawal from the pact.

The U.S. gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the INF in February, setting the stage for it to terminate in six months unless Moscow returns to compliance. Russia has denied any breaches, and accused the U.S. of violating the pact. Moscow followed Washington's example in February, also suspending its obligations under the treaty.

Putin has warned the U.S. against deploying new missiles in Europe, saying that Russia will retaliate by fielding new fast weapons that will take just as little time to reach their targets.