The Fruit of INF Violations, Ready for Picking

Russia’s alleged violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) are a “serious matter” and the US will continue to press the issue with Moscow, said the State Department’s top nuclear nonproliferation official. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller told reporters in Washington D.C., on Friday that the State Department has “serious compliance concerns” with the Russians over its obligations to the INF, which reportedly stem from Russia’s testing of a variant of a ground-launched cruise missile. Several reports indicate that in addition to the unnamed land-based cruise missile, Russian tests of the RS-26 Rubezeh ballistic missile also violated the INF. “I can say, we continue to raise it at a high level and we will continue to do so until our concerns are satisfied,” Gottemoeller said. The 1987 treaty bans the US and Russia from testing or deploying missiles with ranges between 500 kilometers and 5,000 kilometers. Gottemoeller said her office has been dealing with the matter “for a while,” but sought to downplay the notion that the crisis in Ukraine has exacerbated the matter.