- The Washington Times - Friday, December 8, 2017

The Trump administration is planning new diplomatic, military and economic steps to pressure Russia after concluding earlier this week that Moscow had violated the landmark Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by deploying a new missile that U.S. military officials say is not allowed under the 1987 deal.

The State Department statement Friday did not specify what steps might be taken, but said the Kremlin’s moves put in doubt the future of the accord, which banned the use of an entire class of cruise and ballistic missiles in Europe.

While saying the U.S. remains committed to the treaty, department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that “the United States cannot stand still while the Russian Federation continues to develop military systems in violation of the treaty.”

“While the United States will continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, we are now pursuing economic and military measures intended to induce the Russian Federation to return to compliance,” Ms. Nauert added. “This includes a review of military concepts and options, including options for conventional, ground-launched, intermediate-range missile systems, which would enable the United States to defend ourselves and our allies, should the Russian Federation not return to compliance.”

The Trump administration is also prepared to halt research and development programs if Russia does not address the violation posed by the new missile.

Russian defense officials have consistently denied U.S. accusations of cheating, which were first lodged by the Obama administration three years ago.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement Friday again denied violating the INF Treaty and slammed what it called “the language of ultimatums” coming from Washington.


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