Russia’s development and testing of a treaty-prohibited class of nuclear capable cruise missiles guts the US’ ability to move forward with future arms control agreements, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Rose Gottmoeller told lawmakers on Wednesday. “The ramifications of Russia’ [violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty] and our response affect more than just one arms control agreement, they affect our ability to pursue future arms control and non-proliferation regimes,” Gottmoeller told members of the House Armed Service Committee on Dec. 13. Russia is currently complying with its obligations under the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, she said. However, Russia is currently in violation of five other treaties and agreements: INF, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Budapest Memorandum extending security guarantees to Ukraine in exchange for giving up its nuclear arsenal. “We hope the Russian Federation will remember why the Soviet Union signed the INF treaty in the first place” and acknowledge the stabilizing effects of confidence-building treaties, Gottmoeller said. “When implemented fully by all parties, arms control agreements advance US national security interests,” she added. (See also US Assessing Military Response to Russian INF Violations for more on Gottmoeller’s testimony.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.