Posts Tagged ‘Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty’

U.S. Envoy Says Russia Shows No Indication It Wants to Save INF

December 7, 2018

Russia has not indicated a desire to save a Cold War-era arms control agreement amid a looming U.S. deadline to pull out of the pact unless Moscow returns to compliance, according to the U.S. ambassador to Russia.

In a press call with reporters Thursday, Jon Huntsman said the United States and its NATO partners have “gone to great lengths to preserve” the treaty, “however no one believes, nor is there any reason to believe” that Russia will destroy the missiles the alliance says violate the pact.

Image result for Jon Huntsman, with putin, photos

Jon Huntsman and Vladimir Putin / Getty Images

“When you have two signatories to a 30-year old agreement … and you find that today—indeed, over the better part of the last five years, only one of two is abiding by the obligations, it becomes foolhardy to carry on,” Huntsman said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Moscow on Tuesday that the United States would no longer adhere to the accord’s provisions if Russia failed to come back into compliance within 60 days.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, signed by the United States and Russia in 1987, bars the Cold War adversaries from possessing ground-based ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,000 kilometers, or roughly 310 to 3,400 miles. The United States has alleged Russian violations of the agreement since 2014.

At issue is Russia’s development of an intermediate-range ground-launch cruise missile called the 9M729 (or SSC-8) that the United States has said exceeds the range allowed by the INF. Russia has denied the violation.

Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson, who was on the media call with Huntsman, said Russia must get rid of its 9M729 cruise missiles and launchers or alter their range to return to compliance with the INF.

Huntsman rejected the notion that the Trump administration’s threat to withdraw from the pact represented an “ultimatum” or signified a U.S. abandonment of arms control.

“This does not mean we are walking away from arms control,” he said. “We are doing this to preserve the viability and integrity of arms control agreements more broadly. We remain committed to arms control, but we need a reliable partner and we do not have one in Russia on INF, or for that matter on other treaties it is violating.”



Putin Threatens Arms Race as U.S. Prepares to Exit Nuclear Treaty

December 5, 2018

MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened an arms race with the U.S. on Wednesday in response to Washington’s warning it could suspend a Cold War-era treaty that prohibits intermediate and shorter-range nuclear missiles.

The U.S. has accused Russia of violating the Treaty on Intermediate-range Nuclear Force, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would freeze its commitments under the treaty in 60 days if Russia didn’t return to compliance. Russia denies it has violated the treaty.

Mr. Putin said Russia would “respond appropriately” if the U.S. withdrew from the agreement and indicated that Moscow would follow through on the development and construction of shorter and intermediate-range weapons if the U.S. sought to construct such weapons.

Image result for Putin, CNN photos

“Our American partners apparently believe that the situation has changed to such an extent that the U.S. should have such weapons,” said Mr. Putin. “What answer will they have from our side? It’s simple: we’ll do it, too.”

President Trump has said Russia’s development of the 9M729 cruise missile, which Russia has been developing for years, was a violation of the pact.

In October, he said Washington would withdraw from the three-decade old agreement, which prohibits the use of intermediate- and shorter-range rockets as well as testing, producing or fielding new ground-based missiles.

Write to Thomas Grove at


Russia denies it is violating nuclear arms treaty (First Rule for Russia: Denial — Rule 2: Threaten)

December 5, 2018

The Kremlin on Wednesday dismissed US claims that Russia is violating the INF treaty. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that there was no proof that Moscow was in material breach of the agreement.

Russland Iskander-M Marschflugkörper (picture-alliance/dpa/Tass/Y. Smityuk)

The Kremlin on Wednesday dismissed US claims that Russia is violating a major Cold War treaty that limits mid-range nuclear arms, from which Washington is planning to withdraw.

“Groundless accusations are again being repeated,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Russia in “material breach” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

“No proof has been produced to support this American position,” Zakharova said.

She described the treaty as a “cornerstone of global stability and international security.”

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that facts had been distorted “in order to camouflage the true goal of the US withdrawing from the treaty.”

Read more: What is the INF nuclear treaty?

Cold War treaty

The treaty was initially signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. The INF treaty resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles that targeted Western capitals.

At a meeting with fellow NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday, Pompeo said that the US would withdraw from the deal within 60 days if Moscow does not dismantle missiles that Washington says violate it. NATO said it was now “up to Russia” to save the treaty.

In October, President Donald Trump sparked global concern by declaring the United States would pull out of the treaty and build up America’s nuclear stockpile “until people come to their senses”.

However, the Trump on Monday said he wanted to talk with his Chinese and Russian counterparts Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin “to head off a major and uncontrollable Arms Race”.

In 2007 Vladimir Putin had  said it would be “difficult” for Russia to remain in the 1987 US-Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) unless it was expanded to include other countries.

av/rc (AFP, AP)


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US Official: Russia Violated Missile Treaty

Russia Threatens to Target U.S. Allies With Laser If Trump Exits Treaty

December 5, 2018
  • Peresvet laser deployed by Russian army, Defense Ministry says
  • U.S. sets deadline on nuclear treaty Russia denies breaching
The Peresvet laser   Photographer: Sputnik via VisualRIA

Russia will target countries hosting U.S. missiles if Washington goes ahead with plans to pull out of a landmark Cold War arms treaty, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said Wednesday.

“If the INF treaty is destroyed, we won’t leave it without a response,” he said in a presentation to foreign military attaches in Moscow, according to an official transcript. “You as military professionals must understand that the target for Russian retaliation won’t be U.S. territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed.”

Gen Valery Gerasimov
Valery Gerasimov

His comments came hours after the U.S. said it would pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 60 days if Russia doesn’t stop alleged violations. Moscow says it’s complying with the deal. Gerasimov accused the U.S. of seeking to shift the blame for its demise to Russia.

The U.S. has said it has no plans to deploy land-based nuclear missiles in Europe once it pulls out of the treaty. In the past, Russia has threatened to target European countries that hosted U.S. missile defenses.

Loading a quasi ballistic missile into an Iskander-M missile launcher during a military exercise held by missile and artillery units of the Russian Eastern Military District's 5th army at a firing range in Ussuriysk.

Russian Iskander missile

Earlier Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said it’s deployed laser weapons, one of several systems President Vladimir Putin touted as a new generation of armaments during his annual address in March.

The Peresvet laser, named after a 14th century Orthodox monk who fought in single combat against a Tatar champion at the Battle of Kulikovo, was deployed by the army on Dec. 1, the ministry said in an emailed statement.

Putin in March described the new arms as Russia’s response to the U.S. decision in 2002 to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and develop its global defense shield. While Peresvet’s technical specifications are secret, military experts say it can be used against drones, missiles and aircraft.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NATO allies on Tuesday that the U.S. is setting a two-month deadline for Russia to return to compliance with the INF treaty before carrying out President Donald Trump’s threat in October to withdraw from the accord. Russia denies breaching the treaty, which bans deployment of ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) to 5,500 kilometers, and has said it wants to hold talks with the U.S. on preserving the agreement.

“The U.S. has presented no evidence that the Russian side in any way violates or fails to comply with the terms of the agreement,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow. The INF treaty is “one of the key pillars of strategic stability” and Russia’s ready to discuss any problems with the accord without “baseless accusations and ultimatums,” she said.


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US Official: Russia Violated Missile Treaty

Save US-Russia nuclear treaty, EU urges

December 5, 2018

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday urged Russia and the US to save a Cold War arms control treaty after Washington issued a 60-day ultimatum to Moscow.

The United States said it would pull out of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty unless Moscow withdraws a new cruise missile system that has threatened to trigger a new arms race.

Mogherini pleaded for the treaty to be saved, warning that Europe did not want to become a battlefield for global powers once again, as it had been during the Cold War.

“The INF has guaranteed peace and security in European territory for 30 years now,” Mogherini said as she arrived for talks with NATO foreign ministers.

“It has to be fully implemented, so I hope that the time that is there to work on preserving the treaty and achieving its full implementation can be used wisely from all sides, and we will definitely try to make our part to make sure this happens.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday warned Russia that if it did not dismantle its 9M279 mobile ground-launched missile system, Washington would no longer be bound by the treaty.

NATO and the US say the 9M279 — also known by the designation SSC-8 — violates the INF treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

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FILE – Russian servicemen equip an Iskander tactical missile system in Kubinka, outside Moscow, Russia, June 17, 2015. Russia has reportedly deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile it has been developing and testing for several years.

The nuclear-capable Russian missiles are mobile and hard to detect and can hit cities in Europe with little or no warning, according to NATO, dramatically changing the security calculus on the continent.

NATO foreign ministers issued a joint statement putting the onus squarely on Russia to save the INF, saying the US had remained “in full compliance”.

Over the past five years, Washington has raised its concerns over the Russian missiles at least 30 times, Pompeo said, only to be met with denials, obfuscation and spurious counter-claims from Moscow.

The 60-day grace period — granted by the US as a concession to European partners who wanted to give Moscow a last chance — will expire at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in February.

The INF treaty, signed by US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ended a dangerous build-up of nuclear weapons triggered by Moscow’s deployment of SS-20 missiles targeting Western European capitals



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NATO, US put pressure on Russia over INF treaty

December 5, 2018

The Trump administration has accused Russia of “cheating” on the terms of a treaty on nuclear missiles. Europe could face security concerns if Washington carries through on a threat to withdraw from the pact.

NATO foreign ministers backed the Trump administration’s stance over a landmark missile treaty with Russia when they met in Brussels Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NATO ministers that Washington would begin the process of withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) within 60 days if Moscow did not start complying with the terms of the pact.

A Russian missile is fired during military exercisesImage copyright EPA
Russia denies building missiles that violate the accord

“It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that constrains our ability to respond to Russia’s violation,” Pompeo said, adding that: “The United States today declares Russia in material breach of the treaty and we will suspend our obligations unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance.”

Read more: NATO: Russia violated INF nuclear treaty

At issue is a new Russian missile system — known as both the 9M729 and SSC-8 — that is nuclear-capable and violates the treaty’s ban on ground-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (311-3,418 miles). Pompeo said that Russia is in “material breach” of the contract.

DW’s correspondent at NATO, Teri Schultz, said the US had allowed the 60-day concession in response to European concerns over an immediate withdrawal and followed direct intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Nobody at NATO thinks Russia is going to come back into compliance,” Schultz told DW’s The Day programme. “At the end of the 60 days, it’s going to be a free-for-all. The US wants to be free to advance its own weapons systems without constraint.”

The INF treaty was a US-Soviet agreement aimed at reducing the superpowers’ nuclear arsenal. It remained in force after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Preparing for the worst

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said of the treaty: “This was really arms control at its best and therefore it’s a really big setback if this treaty now breaks totally down.” Stoltenberg stressed that Russia still had time to comply but added “we must also start to prepare for a world without the treaty.”

A statement released by the NATO foreign ministers said: “Allies have emphasized that the situation whereby the United States and other parties fully abide by the treaty and Russia does not, is not sustainable. We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF treaty.”

Europe has been rattled by the prospects of the Russian system as it would give Moscow the ability to launch essentially undetectable attacks on European cities. That fact, says NATO, would dramatically shift its security calculus on the continent.

Read more: INF Treaty: Would US dropout begin an arms race with China?

European concerns

Europeans are concerned that the US would once again be obliged to deploy its own missiles across the continent should the treaty fall apart. Pompeo called the Russian system “a direct menace to Europe,” adding that Moscow’s actions “greatly undermine America’s national security and that of its allies.”

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected accusations of noncompliance: “Russia strictly complies with the conditions of the treaty and the US side is aware of that.”

js/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

US says Russia has 60 days to comply with nuclear pact or may quit

December 5, 2018

The United States warned Russia Tuesday it has 60 days to start complying with a landmark missile treaty or Washington could abandon the pact, creating doubts about nuclear security in Europe.

At NATO talks in Brussels, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of “cheating at its arms control obligations” under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Pompeo warned that if Russia did not comply with the treaty’s terms within 60 days, Washington could activate a six-month notice period for leaving the 1987 pact.

“Russia must return to full and verifiable compliance; Russia’s failure to do so will result in the demise of the INF Treaty,” Pompeo told reporters.

Reuters / Yves Herman | US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a news conference during the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on December 4, 2018.

“Our nations have a choice. We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense action in response to Russia’s flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF Treaty,” he said.

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that Russia’s new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.

The bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles). Russia says the range of the new system does not exceed 500 kilometers.

Pompeo said Washington “would welcome a Russian change of heart” but that he has seen no indication that Moscow is likely to comply.

U.S. allies in NATO said Tuesday they “strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations.” They called on Russia “to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance.”

While Pompeo did not announce the end of the pact, its demise seems all but certain.

“I regret that we now most likely will see the end of the INF Treaty,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, adding that “no arms control agreement will work if it is only respected by one party.”

Stoltenberg said the 29 NATO allies will “collectively develop responses” should the treaty be abandoned, but he declined to say what they might be.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said he does not see the Russians returning to compliance under current conditions.

They are not going to change course on the basis of a U.S. threat to withdraw,” Kimball said.

He said the U.S. needs to redouble diplomatic efforts with Russia to find a way to resolve the noncompliance issues, but he doubts this will happen.

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that “Russia strictly complies with the provisions of the treaty, and the American side is aware of that.”

Russia’s actions in Ukraine also came under the spotlight at Tuesday’s NATO meeting.

Stoltenberg accused Russia of using the Crimean Peninsula as a platform to take control of waters off eastern Ukraine, as allies struggled to find ways to dissuade Moscow from destabilizing the former Soviet republic.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, sparking NATO’s biggest military buildup in Eastern Europe since the Cold War. On Nov. 25, Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian navy vessels near Crimea, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based. The vessels and the crews were captured.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin appealed for NATO support in the confrontation with Russia over the Black Sea and the adjacent Sea of Azov, a key commercial waterway for the country.

“Four years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea. Now Russia is attempting to use Crimea to expand its influence and control of the Sea of Azov,” Stoltenberg said.

But as to what more NATO would do beyond its existing sea patrols and air policing, he said: “There is already a lot of NATO in the Black Sea.”

NATO allies have helped modernize Ukraine’s armed forces and boosted their presence in the Black Sea over the last year, with more ships deployed in the region and more air policing. Three NATO allies on the Black Sea   Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey   are also taking individual measures.

NATO nations, individually and through the European Union, have also imposed economic and other sanctions on Russia since it annexed Crimea, but there is little appetite among the allies to broaden those measures.

Klimkin welcomed the political support he received in Brussels, but said: “We shouldn’t just stay on the level of declarations, however strong declarations are.”

“We need to create a coordinated response to the actions of Russia,” Klimkin said, adding that he raised “a set of practical steps with a number of proposals” at the meeting as to how NATO, Ukraine and Georgia might do that together.

He also suggested a possible ban on Russian ships entering other countries’ ports if Moscow continues to block the Sea of Azov and said he would raise the idea with European Union ministers next week.

Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday that shipping traffic has resumed on the Sea, but a senior U.S. State Department official said that at NATO “no one would see that as a satisfactory move or the end of the matter.”


Trump Is Right to Withdraw From Nuclear Treaty With Russia

October 23, 2018

Russia wasn’t honoring it, and China isn’t party to it.

Back in friendlier times.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

According to the Russians, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty will bring the world closer to the nuclear apocalypse. “Mankind is facing full chaos in the nuclear weapons sphere,” one high-ranking Russian lawmaker said.

The last time the issue of arms control was this dramatic was during the era of the Betamax, Cabbage Patch Kids and Ronald Reagan. But before you sign up for that peace march, you might want to consider the context of Trump’s decision.

The INF treaty was supposed to eliminate all missiles with a range of about 300 to 3,500 miles. When Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed that agreement in 1987, they ended a dangerous standoff in Europe, where both sides had deployed hundreds of nuclear-tipped weapons.

For 21 years, it worked. The U.S. stopped producing intermediate-range missiles, and so did the Russians. But in 2008, the same year Russia invaded Georgia, Moscow began to cheat. That’s when Russia began testing “a ground-launched cruise missile that flies to ranges banned by the treaty,” said Rose Gottemoeller, President Barack Obama’s undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, in a 2015 interview. The U.S. began calling out Russia on those tests in 2013, she said, and the two nations have “been butting heads ever since.”

More recently, the Russians have become even bolder. In 2017, Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that the Russians had deployed that missile, known as the 9M729, “in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility.”

Faced with these facts, Trump had to make choices. He could continue to do what the Obama administration had done, and try to shame the Russians into compliance. He could have sought to renegotiate the INF Treaty to account for the new Russian deployments. Or he could do what he just did, and withdraw from a treaty to which only America adhered.

Trump made the right choice. Again, it’s worth recalling the lead up to the original INF Treaty. In the early 1980s, Reagan was under enormous pressure from western European allies to hold off on deploying the Pershing II missiles to counter the Soviet SS-20s. He resisted, and the Pershing II missiles were deployed.

That chess move paid off. The deployment was one factor that helped persuade the Soviets to negotiate seriously for the INF Treaty in 1987. The lesson: Some short-term proliferation may be necessary for long-term arms control.

Trump is taking a similar approach today. He has said he is open to a new INF Treaty — one that Russia honors which China joins. (An estimated 95 percent of China’s missiles would be prohibited by the INF Treaty, to which China is not currently a party.) As it now stands, the U.S. is the only great power keeping to the terms of the 31-year-old treaty.

For Russia and other Western arms-control enthusiasts, Trump’s withdrawal is a dangerous gamble. But it’s a gamble worth taking. What’s the point of upholding an arms-control treaty that only constrains America? Better to pull out now in the hopes of getting a real treaty later.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.


Trump threatens nuclear arsenal buildup

October 23, 2018

President Donald Trump told reporters Monday that the United States would increase its nuclear arsenal until other nations “come to their senses,” threatening an arms race days after he said he would withdraw the US from a Cold War nuclear treaty.

Trump announced over the weekend that he intended to pull the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia and accused Moscow of violating the deal.
The signing of the treaty in 1987 was seen as a watershed moment during the end days of the Cold War, helping to eliminate thousands of land-based missiles with ranges between approximately 300 and 3,400 miles.
PHOTO: In this July 16, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland.

In this July 16, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Trump repeated on Monday that Russia had not adhered to the treaty and said his vow to increase the US nuclear stockpile included a posture against China as well.
“Until people come to their senses, we will build it up,” Trump said to reporters outside the White House.
“It’s a threat to whoever you want,” Trump said. “And it includes China, and it includes Russia, and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game. You can’t do that. You can’t play that game on me.”
Trump noted that China was not a party to the agreement, but said, “They should be included.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters Monday that it was “wrong” for the US to cite China as a reason to pull out of the treaty, which he said was important for “maintaining global strategic balance and stability.”
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Hua Chunying — File photo
“Withdrawing unilaterally from the treaty will have a multilateral impact,” Hua said.
Russia has denied it is in violation of the treaty, and said it would be forced “to take measures” if Washington began developing new missile systems. President Vladimir Putin plans to discuss the decision with US national security adviser John Bolton, who he is due to meet on Tuesday in Moscow, Russia’s state-run news agency, RIA Novosti, reported.
Some analysts see the Trump administration’s aversion to international agreements and the views of Bolton as a driving force behind the decision. In 2011, Bolton wrote an opinion piece outlining why the US should leave the treaty.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — who signed the deal with US President Ronald Reagan — said the US announcement was “very irresponsible.”
New arms race brewing between US and Russia

New arms race brewing between US and Russia 02:36

Fears of new nuclear arms race

The European Union warned Trump pulling out of the treaty would risk a new nuclear arms race and urged the US and Russia to “remain engaged in constructive dialogue.”
“The INF contributed to the end of the cold war and constitutes a pillar of European security architecture since it entered into force 30 years ago,” a spokeswoman for the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement.
“Thanks to the INF treaty, almost 3,000 missiles with nuclear and conventional warheads have been removed and verifiably destroyed,” the statement said. “The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this month that the military alliance remained “concerned about Russia’s lack of respect for its international commitments, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the INF Treaty.”
He continued, “After years of denials, Russia recently acknowledged the existence of a new missile system, called 9M729. Russia has not provided any credible answers on this new missile. All allies agree that the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the treaty. It is therefore urgent that Russia addresses these concerns in a substantial and transparent manner.”

Wider repercussions


Some observers said Trump’s announcement could be a move to push Russia and China into compliance, but others suggest both countries may have something to gain by ditching the agreement.
Withdrawing from the treaty would allow the US to develop a missile similar to the one that Russia has tested. Conversely, the announcement could also allow Russia to blame Washington for the treaty’s demise, while pursuing an arsenal of nuclear missiles more freely.
Mark Bell, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, said that if Washington withdraws from the treaty, the move could affect Europe and US-China ties more than US-Russia relations.
“The INF is something that matters more to US allies in Europe than it does to the US, since they are the ones in range of INF weapons,” Bell told CNN. “US withdrawal therefore has the potential to exacerbate current US-EU tensions.”
He added that some in the US defense community would like Washington to have the option of deploying land-based cruise missiles in Asia in the future. “Leaving the INF would allow the US to do this,” he said.
Bell doubted that a withdrawal from the treaty would cause a serious rupture of the current strategic balance.
“This move has the potential to somewhat destabilize the current strategic balance in Europe,” he said. “Though I would be surprised if it led to a major arms race: I suspect both the US and Russians will continue to do more or less what they are currently doing.”
Former State Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, previously said: “I do think, if we pull out, we really do need to think about how we are going to, right now because we don’t have the same capability as the Russians have with this particular missile. How are we going to try and counter that? How are we going to try and help deter use of it on the continent of Europe?”
Despite threatening to spend vast sums to increase the US nuclear arsenal, on Monday Trump said ultimately he hoped to bring the US back onto the path of reducing its weapons stockpiles.
“We have more money than anybody else by far,” Trump said. “We’ll build it up until they come to their senses. When they do, then we’ll all be smart, and we’ll all stop. And by the way not only stop, we’ll reduce, which I would love to do. But right now, they (Russia) have not adhered to the agreement.”
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Trump says he’s terminating a major nuclear treaty with Russia. Here’s what you need to know.

U.S. Prepared To Destroy Banned Russian Cruise Missile Warheads

October 2, 2018

Russia must halt its covert development of a banned cruise missile system or the United States will seek to destroy it before it becomes operational, Washington’s envoy to NATO said on Tuesday.

The United States believes Russia is developing a ground-launched system in breach of a Cold War treaty that could allow Russia to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice, but Moscow has consistently denied any such violation.

U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said Washington remained committed to a diplomat solution but was prepared to consider a military strike if Russian development of the medium-range system continued.

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U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison. Credit  Virginia Mayo / AP

“At that point, we would be looking at the capability to take out a (Russian) missile that could hit any of our countries,” she told a news conference.

“Counter measures (by the United States) would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty,” she added. “They are on notice.”

The Russian foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment. In the past, it has said it is ready for talks with the United States to try to preserve the treaty and would comply with its obligations if the United States did.

The comments by Hutchison, who was appointed to the NATO post by U.S. President Donald Trump, are the most direct warning of a preemptive strike since a U.S. official said in 2017 the United States would consider its own system if Russia continued to violate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The treaty bans medium-range missiles capable of hitting Europe or Alaska. The United States and Russia celebrated its 30th anniversary in Geneva in 2017.

But that same year, the U.S. State Department report found Russia had violated obligations “not to possess, produce, or flight-test” a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km (310-3,417 miles), “or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”

Russian Iskander-M missile. Missile of this type are deployed in Kaliningrad and threaten NATO

The U.S. accusations are likely to further strain relations between Moscow and the West that are at a low over Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea, its bombing campaign in Syria and accusations of Russian meddling in Western elections.

“We have been trying to send a message to Russia for several years that we know they are violating the treaty, we have shown Russia the evidence that we have that they are violating the treaty,” Hutchison said.

“We are laying down the markers so that our allies will help us bring Russia to the table,” she added.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he would discuss the issue with his NATO counterparts at a scheduled two-day meeting in Brussels from Wednesday.

“I cannot forecast where it will go, it is a decision for the president, but I can tell you that both on Capitol Hill and in State Department, there is a lot of concern about this situation and I’ll return with the advice of our allies and engage in that discussion to determine the way ahead,” he told reporters in Paris.