President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Saturday announced that Russia would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in response to the US suspension of the treaty a day prior.
The INF Treaty, a principle act of the Cold War disarmament pacts, required the destruction of US and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles (GLBMs and GLCMs) with a range capability between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, and their associated launchers, support structures, and equipment, within three years after the Treaty entered into force in 1988.
In December the Trump administration announced that Russia was in material breach of the INF Treaty, and that the US would suspend its obligations in 60 days should Russia not return to full compliance.
Russia contends that they were not in violation of the treaty and did all they could to save the treaty “considering its importance in terms of sustaining strategic stability in Europe, as well as globally.”
In coordination with the Defence Ministry, we proposed unprecedented transparency measures that went far beyond our obligations under the INF Treaty in order to persuade the US that Russia was not in violation of this essential instrument. However, the US torpedoed these proposals.
In 2014 the US first declared Russia in violation of its obligations not to “produce, possess, or flight-test a GLCM with a range capability between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.” The US reaffirmed that Russia is in violation of the Treaty in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The US findings were fully supported by NATO Allies, and, since 2013, NATO has drafted three formal statements demanding Russia be transparent about its violation.