Ex-Soviet President questions US' n-treaty withdrawal plan

Moscow, Oct 22: Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has questioned the intelligence behind US President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from a key Cold War nuclear weapons treatyGorbachev, who signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with President Ronald Reagan in 1987, said on Sunday that Trump's move is a reversal of efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament, the BBC reported.Trump said Russia had been "violating (the INF) for many years". Russia has condemned the plans and threatened to retaliate.The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin would be seeking an explanation from visiting US National Security Adviser John Bolton.Germany was the first US ally to criticise the move, with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urging Washington to consider the consequences both for Europe and for future disarmament efforts.The INF had banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km.It was signed near the end of the Cold War -- a period between 1945 and 1989 marked by intense international tension due to the quality of relations shared between the two super powers -- the US and USSR -- and overshadowed by the threat of nuclear conflict.In the past five decades the US and Russia have signed a range of joint agreements to limit and reduce their substantial nuclear arsenals, the BBC report said.Gorbachev was the last General Secretary of the Soviet Union who was appointed in 1985. His domestic reforms and nuclear disarmament deals helped end the Cold War. He resigned as Soviet president in 1991 after Soviet republics declared independence.