A man looks at caricatures of Russian President Vladimir Putin at an open-air exhibition by Ukrainian cartoonist, architect and journalist Oleh Smal, in the centre of Kiev.
A man looks at caricatures of Russian President Vladimir Putin at an open-air exhibition by Ukrainian cartoonist, architect and journalist Oleh Smal, in the centre of Kiev.

Washington : Russia has violated the landmark 1987 nuclear missile treaty by testing a new ground-launched cruise missile, the US has said, describing it as a “very serious matter”. President Barack Obama on Monday wrote a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in this regard. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, a day earlier on Sunday.

“The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty,” a senior administration official told PTI. “More specifically, the 2014 Compliance Report includes a determination that the Russian Federation is in violation of its INF Treaty obligations not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometres, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The issue was first reported by the New York Times. Signed by the then President Ronald Reagan with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, the INF Treaty prohibits the development, testing, possession, and deployment of INF-range (500- to 5,500-kilometre) ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. The landmark treaty has been lauded often as an example of successful arms control because it eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons.

“This violation is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now, the official said adding that the US is committed to the viability of the INF Treaty. We encourage Russia to return to compliance with its obligations under the Treaty and to eliminate any prohibited items in a verifiable manner,” the official said.

The Obama administration has kept the Congress and top American allies informed of this matter, the official noted. “The INF Treaty serves the mutual security interests of the parties – not only the United States and Russia, but also the 11 other successor states of the former Soviet Union, which are also States Parties to the Treaty and bound by its obligations,” the official said. “Moreover, this Treaty contributes to the security of our allies and to regional security in Europe and in the Far East,” the official added.

Lalit K Jha          

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