Impasse Over Nuclear Treaty Hardens As Washington Threatens ‘Countermeasures’

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A photo taken from video published by the Russian Defense Ministry purports to show missile launches from the Caspian Sea to strike targets in Syria.

By Mike Eckel

WASHINGTON– Russia risks provoking “military and economic countermeasures” if it continues to stonewall over a U.S. accusation that it violated a bedrock of nuclear arms control, the United States’ lead arms-control negotiator says.

The comments by Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, highlight the seriousness that the U.S. administration has attached to the alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Last year Washington formally accused Moscow of being “in violation of its obligations.”

Gottemoeller told RFE/RL in an interview that Russia had been engaged in a “fishing expedition” to learn “what precisely we know and how we obtained that information” instead of trying to resolve the dispute.

“We don’t make determinations on arms-control violations lightly,” Gottemoeller said. “So I want to make clear that this violation is not a technicality or a mistake as some have suggested. We are talking about a missile that has been flight-tested as a ground-launched cruise-missile system to these ranges that are banned under this treaty.”

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