Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that Russia has 60 days to comply with a 1987 arms-control deal or the U.S. will suspend its obligations under the agreement.
“We either bury our head in the sand or we take common-sense action,” Pompeo said.
The U.S. has argued that Russia is in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed by Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The agreement prohibits countries from possessing ground-launched short range (310-620 miles) and intermediate-range (620-3,420 miles) nuclear and non-nuclear missiles. New missiles Russia has been testing appear to fall within the treaty’s prohibition, and would make it uncomplicated for Russia to launch a nuclear attack on NATO countries.
After Tuesday’s meeting of NATO foreign ministers, the alliance concluded that Russia was indeed at fault for breaching the treaty.
“Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security,” read a statement from NATO. “We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty. We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.”
“During this 60 days we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we’ll see what happens during this 60-day period,” Pompeo said. “We’ve talked to the Russians a great deal. We’re hopeful they’ll change course, but there’s been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so.”
The Kremlin insists that it has remained in compliance with the treaty.