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US Officials: Russia Continuing With Missile Program That Violates INF Treaty

US Officials: Russia Continuing With Missile Program That Violates INF Treaty

(AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:31 PM

Despite U.S. declarations that Russia is violating the landmark 1987 treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF), Moscow appears to be continuing with a program to produce a ground-launched cruise missile, U.S. officials told The New York Times.

The officials say this is an even more severe concern than what the Obama administration raised two years ago when it claimed Russia conducted flight tests of the missile in violation of the INF treaty, which bans the two nations from testing, producing and possessing ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles that are capable of flying 300 to 3,400 miles.

During that dispute, Moscow denied the charge and insisted that American armed drones were breaching the treaty. Russia also claimed this past May that U.S. activation of a European missile defense shield in Romania and Poland violates the treaty, the BBC reported.

The American concern now is that Moscow is in the midst of building a force that could eventually be deployed, something the U.S. military has said would be a significant change in the balance of power, according to the Times.

The U.S. has called for the first meeting since 2003 of the Special Verification Commission, which was set up by the INF treaty to deal with compliance.

The dispute comes amid steadily deteriorating ties with Russia over its involvement in the Syrian civil war, its capture of territory in Ukraine and allegations that Moscow is trying to meddle in the American elections by hacking into the email accounts of Democratic Party officials.

Despite the threat of the Russian missile program, the White House has not approved any of the Pentagon's suggestions for military action.

During the years of dispute over who is violating the treaty, the U.S. State Department has also refused to admit Washington is seeking to increase its missile capabilities against perceived "Russian aggression," even after the Pentagon named Moscow as one of the threats that need to be contained, RT reported.

Expressing concern over the latest developments, the Times reported that House Committee on Armed Services chairman Mac Thornberry and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes sent a letter to the White House saying, "the INF Treaty is the only arms control treaty that succeeded in eliminating a class of nuclear arms.

It has become apparent to us that the situation regarding Russia's violation has worsened and Russia is now in material breach of the treaty."

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Despite U.S.declarations that Russia is violating the landmark 1987 treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF), Moscow appears to be continuing with a program to produce a ground-launched cruise missile, U.S. officials told The New York Times.
Russia, Missile Program, Violates, INF Treaty
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2016-31-19
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:31 PM
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