US Still Seeking “Balance,” Compliance from Moscow

Brussels Despite concerns over Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, exercising, and treaty violations, the US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute told reporters here there is no move afoot in Washington, D.C., to consider “counter deployments” in response to Russian testing of new medium-range cruise missiles. Instead, the Alliance wants to work to achieve “balance” with its policy towards Russia, to show solidarity and strength, while also keeping an open hand for Moscow to re-engage as a partner, added Lute. However, there is an effort under way in the US to assess “the possible implications of what Russia says about its nuclear weapons,” and what the US and NATO actually see in terms of deployment and development, added Lute. “We have not drawn any conclusions,” Lute said. Even though the US State Department declared Russia in violation of the INF treaty by testing medium-range, nuclear-capable weapons, thus far the US has held a series of bilateral dialogues in order to get Moscow to reconsider compliance, and the discussions on response options have not gone into potential “counter deployments” of weapons, Lute emphasized.