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U.S.: Russia violated 1987 missile treaty by testing nuclear cruise missile

Russia's testing of a ground-launched cruise missile is in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty agreed to by the Soviet Union and the U.S., President Barack Obama informed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
By JC Finley   |   July 29, 2014 at 10:36 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama informed Russian President Vladimir Putin via official written correspondence delivered by the U.S. embassy in Moscow that Russia was in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

According to senior U.S. officials who spoke to the New York Times about the matter, Russia violated the treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.

The terms of the INF treaty "requires destruction of the Parties' ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 50 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force."

Russia has reportedly been testing cruise missiles since 2008. In January, U.S. officials notified NATO of Russia's cruise missile tests and questioned Russia's compliance with the INF treaty.

On Monday, Obama reiterated America's desire to preserve the 1987 treaty and laid out steps Moscow can take to return to compliance.

It is unclear what specific steps Obama recommended, but possibly included assurances not to deploy the missile, destruction of the missile, and arms inspections to confirm destruction.

The 1987 treaty was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. In 2013, Putin reflected back on Gorbachev's acceptance of the INF treaty, stating "this decision was debatable to say the least."

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