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Congressman Admits Possibility of US Withdrawal From INF Treaty

© Sputnik / Igor Mikhalev / Go to the photo bankUnited States Capitol
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US Congressman Trent Franks says that a US withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty is one possible response to US allegations of Russian non-compliance with the agreement.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A US withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is one possible response to US allegations of Russian non-compliance with the agreement, US Congressman Trent Franks has told Sputnik.

"I absolutely believe that is one option," Franks said Wednesday, speaking of the United States withdrawing from the treaty which bans the testing, deployment or use of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. The congressman added that "all options" are on the table.

Franks further stated that he believes Russia is non-compliant with the terms of the New START Treaty, signed in 2010 to reduce the number of US and Russian deployed tactical nuclear missiles.

The Congressman's views on Russian compliance with New START are not shared by US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth. During a House Armed Services hearing on Wednesday, Wormuth told Congress that Russia is "continuing to comply" with New START.

The Missile Defense Agency's test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD). The Ground-Based Interceptor launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on June 22, 2014. - Sputnik International
US Could Enhance Missile Systems to Oppose Alleged INF Violations - Experts
The official Pentagon position on US adherence to the INF Treaty in the future, and possible retaliation for alleged Russian violations was expressed by newly appointed Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Wormuth told Sputnik when asked to comment on retaliatory steps the US could take in response to alleged Russian treaty violations.

In early February, Carter told members of the US Senate that the United States would consider withdrawing from the Treaty. Carter stated that if Russia believes it is "absolved" from arms restrictions under the treaty, the United States could do the same.

Beginning in July 2014, the United States announced Russia had violated the treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to the US State Department. Russia has denied the US claim, pointing, in turn, to US INF violations.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty in 1987 banning nuclear and conventional ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310-3417 miles (500-5500 kilometres).

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