The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as it was also known, came to an end in 1991.
And with the collapse of the Soviet Union came the end of the Cold War. A period of intense rivalry but no direct military conflict between the United States with it's allies and the Soviet Union with it's allies. As the Cold War was winding down in 1987, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the INF. They agreed to destroy thousands of missiles that could fly between 300 and 3,400 miles. They also agreed to stop testing these weapons. The INF Treaty stands today between the U.S. and Russia. But U.S. President Donald Trump wants to get rid of it.
He says Russia hasn't played by it's rules for years and America and it's NATO allies have criticized Russia for apparently testing a cruise missile in 2014. The kind of missile that's supposed to be banned by the treaty. Both sides seem to agree the treaty has problems. Getting rid of it could allow the U.S. to develop a weapon like the cruise missile that Russia apparently tested. It could also allow Russia to freely build more missiles. Analysts say the elimination of the treaty could lead to a renewed arms race between the U.S. and Russia.
FRED PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. has long been accusing Russia of violating the INF Treaty by developing and deploying medium range nuclear-capable missiles. Now President Trump says America is axing the agreement.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're the ones who stayed in the agreement and we've honored the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement. So we're going to terminate the agreement and we're going to pull out.
PLEITGEN: During his visit to Moscow in the coming days, National Security Advisor John Bolton is expected to formally tell the Russians that America is leaving the INF Treaty. INF stands for Intermediate Nuclear Forces. The treaty was signed in 1987 between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and ultimately led to almost 2,700 medium range nuclear missiles being withdrawn. Experts saying by and large, the agreement has worked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was designed to provide a measure of strategic stability on the continent of Europe by banning missiles of a range between 300 and 3,400 miles, both cruise and ballistic missiles. So it was really meant to kind of take the temperature down and it resulted in the destruction of literally thousands of missiles and it has been in effect ever since.
PLEITGEN: Russia denies violating the treaty and accuses the U.S. of breaching it by developing anti-missile systems. The U.S. also believes the INF Treaty puts it at a disadvantage versus a resurging China which is not part of the agreement. Another reason the Administration says to pull out of the deal. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.