Donald Trump comments on the U.S. suspension of the INF treaty with Russia

That treaty, which also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers, expires in February 2021, can be extended by five years if both sides agree.

U.S. President Donald Trump's presidency has been dogged from its inception by allegations - which Moscow denies - that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help his candidacy. U.S.-Russia frictions are at their worst since the Cold War ended in 1991 despite Trump's desire for better ties.

In a statement issued on Friday, Trump suggested ties could improve markedly if Russia were willing to compromise on arms control, saying all sides must live up to such agreements.

"We stand ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations ... and, importantly, once that is done, develop, perhaps for the first time ever, an outstanding relationship on economic, trade, political, and military levels," he said.

Senator Bob Menendez, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Trump failing to grasp the importance of arms control treaties or of having a wider strategy to control the spread of nuclear weapons.

"Today’s withdrawal is yet another geo-strategic gift to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin," he said in a statement.