US development of GLCM sparks Moscow's concern over INF Treaty | World Defense

US development of GLCM sparks Moscow's concern over INF Treaty

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US development of ground-based cruise missile sparks Moscow's concern over INF Treaty
December 08, 2017

The Russian diplomat stressed that Russia is committed to the INF Treaty and is determined to implement it in full

MOSCOW, /TASS/. The allocation of funds to develop a ground-based cruise missile under the US National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2018 heightens Moscow’s concerns over Washington’s commitment to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed 30 years ago, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with Kommersant.
"Certainly, we paid attention to certain provisions of the draft budget for US defense spending, which includes a provision allowing to develop a ground-based cruise missile," Ryabkov told the paper, noting that "this increases our concerns over the true intentions of the US side" regarding the INF.

Moscow notes that the wording in this document allows Washington to claim that "all this is in line with the treaty and there won’t be any violation during the implementation of this provision," the diplomat said.

When asked if Russia plans to challenge this stance, Ryabkov said: "We should wait for the final text before making any statements."
The diplomat stressed that Russia is committed to the INF Treaty and is determined to implement it in full. However, if the Americans take the steps aimed at violating the deal, Moscow will swiftly take tit-for-tat measures.

In November 2017, the US Senate and House of Representatives finalized a $700 bln defense spending plan for 2018. The National Defense Authorization Act allows the Pentagon to develop a non-nuclear ground-based cruise missile with a range of between 500 km and 5,500 km. Some $58 mln is expected to be earmarked for this program.

Disputes around INF Treaty
The United States first accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty back in July 2014. After that, Washington has repeatedly slapped these accusations, while Moscow dismissed them as vague. In response, Russia advanced counter claims to the United States concerning the treaty’s implementation.

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 in Washington between the United States and the Soviet Union and entered into force on June 1, 1988. In 1992, following the collapse of the USSR, the treaty was joined by the former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine - as successors. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers). In all, the former Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 missiles, while the United States - 846 missiles.

http://tass.com/politics/979801
 

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Russia Hits Back At U.S. Charges Of INF Treaty Violations
December 10, 2017

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Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (left) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty in 1987.


Russia has hit back against charges by the United States that Moscow is violating terms of an important Cold War arms treaty.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on December 9 issued a statement saying, "The accusations are absolutely unfounded."

The statement came a day after the United States said it was taking military and economic measures against Moscow in response to the increasingly tense dispute over a Russian missile that Washington says violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

The remarks by the State Department signaled a more deliberate approach by President Donald Trump's administration to the dispute over the 30-year-old treaty.

The treaty is considered a landmark deal between the United States and the Soviet Union, eliminating for the first time an entire class of cruise and ballistic missiles in Europe. It also established a verification framework to ensure compliance.

The United States first formally accused Russia of developing a missile in violation of the INF back in 2014, though intelligence experts said the system had been under development for several years prior to that.

Earlier this year, Washington said the missile was operational and had been deployed.

On November 29, Christopher Ford, a White House National Security Council official involved in arms control, for the first time identified the missile designation -- 9M729 -- which outside arms-control experts have been focusing on for some time now.

That has led to concerns that the new missile could be indistinguishable from an existing system that is not covered by the INF treaty: the highly sophisticated Iskander-M. That would pose a challenge for inspecting and verifying the weapon is in compliance.

The U.S. statement of December 8 did not specify what measures would be taken, but it said it would pursue diplomatic, economic, and military steps to push Moscow back into compliance.

Ryabkov’s statement said there was no proof that Moscow had violated the treaty by developing the new missile system. He said the missile in question has a much shorter range than the United States has alleged.

"The attempts to frighten us like that is just ridiculous," said Ryabkov, who added that economic or military pressure would not have an impact on Moscow.

U.S. and Russian technical experts and officials are scheduled to meet next week as part of the Special Verification Commission process related to the INF Treaty. Past meetings have been seen as accomplishing little.

Ryabkov said the new U.S. allegations could “derail” the SVC talks.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Mike Eckel, dpa, and TASS

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-inf-united-states-missile-treaty-cold-war/28907558.html
 

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NATO Levels Missile Accusations Against Moscow, As Treaty Dispute Escalates
December 15, 2017 - 19:53 GMT
Mike Eckel

WASHINGTON -- NATO has accused Russia of developing a missile system in violation of a key Cold War arms treaty, the latest accusation from the West in a dispute that some fear will lead to the treaty’s demise.

The statement from the alliance, released on December 15, comes days after the United States signaled a tougher stance in its approach toward Moscow and the missile system, which a U.S. official identified publicly for the first time last month.

The statement wasn’t the first time the alliance's main political decision-making body -- the North Atlantic Council-- has weighed in on the dispute over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF). But it was the most forceful to date and followed a briefing that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave to allied defense ministers last month.

"Allies have identified a Russian missile system that raises serious concerns,” the December 15 statement said.

It urged Russia "to address these concerns in a substantial and transparent way, and actively engage in a technical dialogue with the United States.”

“It's the first [North Atlantic Council] statement as such, but allies have been discussing these issues for some time," a NATO official who spoke to RFE/RL on condition of anonymity said.

Signed in 1987, the treaty eliminated an entire class of missiles from Europe and is considered a bedrock agreement for arms control between Washington and Moscow.

Three years ago, Washington publicly accused Moscow of developing a ground-launched cruise missile that fell within the treaty’s prohibitions. Russia has repeatedly rejected the accusations, demanded more information, and leveled its own accusations at U.S. missile-defense systems in Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 14 insisted again that Moscow was complying with the INF and accused Washington of trying to set up a way to withdraw from it altogether.

The United States’ European allies have in the past been frustrated that Washington hasn’t shared more technical evidence of Moscow’s violations.

The NATO statement was issued one day after a special technical commission, established under the treaty rules, met to discuss the dispute and other issues related to the INF treaty.

The State Department said in a statement late on December 14 that participants “expressed the view that the INF treaty continues to play an important role in the existing system of international security, nuclear disarmament, and nonproliferation, and that they will work to preserve and strengthen it.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on December 15 that was a word-for-word translation of the State Department's remarks.

The State Department on December 8 warned that Washington was taking military and economic measures against Moscow, the first announcement of its sort by President Donald Trump's administration, signaling a more determined approach to the treaty dispute.

Late last month, a top White House official for the first time confirmed long-standing suspicions about the type of missile Washington alleged Moscow had deployed.

Christopher Ford, a National Security Council official involved in arms control, identified the missile designation -- 9M729 -- which outside arms-control experts have been focusing on for some time now.

That has led to concerns that the new missile could be indistinguishable from an existing system that is not covered by the INF treaty: the highly sophisticated Iskander-M. That would pose a challenge for inspecting and verifying the weapon is in compliance.

Ford also made some eyebrow-raising comments about officials previously involved in U.S. arms control policy in the administration of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

“Let me start with arms control with Russia, about which I am proud to say that we in the new team are proving ourselves tougher-minded and more rigorous than our predecessors,” Ford said, according to the written transcript.

“By contrast to our predecessors, the new administration decided that the INF status quo we inherited was unacceptable and that we must make unavailable to the Russians the option of continuing to see us constrained while they remain free to do as they wish,” he said.

RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak contributed to this report from Brussels.


https://www.rferl.org/a/nato-russia-missile-accusations-inf-treaty-dispute-escalates/28920865.html
 
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