Russia’s INF Treaty Violations Raise Nuclear Alarm for U.S., NATO

Russia’s INF Treaty Violations Raise Nuclear Alarm for U.S., NATO
U.S. President Barack Obama and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg shake hands at the White House, Washington, May 26, 2015 (NATO photo).

The Russian government’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has recently risen in prominence as a concern in Washington and European capitals. What was originally an arms control issue for the United States has escalated into a major defense and security problem for all of NATO.

Russia’s strategic modernization, nuclear saber-rattling and aggressive bomber patrols throughout the trans-Atlantic region have compounded the alarm over Moscow’s violation of the treaty as well as Russia’s continuing aggression against Ukraine. Moscow’s disregard for long-standing laws, borders and agreements demands a major re-evaluation of Russian goals and strategy. The U.S. and its NATO allies are correctly considering vigorous response options even as American officials prudently game out the likely response of Russia and other critical players.

The U.S. government has released only limited public information about the Russian INF violations, presumably in order to protect U.S. intelligence sources and methods. U.S. officials do say that they have multiple sources of data and have presented some of this evidence to Russia.

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