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    In July, the United States accused Russia of violating the INF treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile. An expert from the Arms Control Association (ACA) believes the United States and Europe should ease on sanctions against Russia in return to the country's compliance with the INF treaty.

    WASHINGTON, December 12 (Sputnik) – Sanctions in place against Russia could be leveraged to enforce the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which Russia has been accused of violating, an expert from the Arms Control Association (ACA) told Sputnik on Thursday.

    The ACA Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy Kingston Reif said the United States and Europe could seek Russia’s compliance with the INF treaty by easing on some of the economic sanctions that were imposed against Russia.

    Invoking the original aim of the treaty, to increase international security, Reif warned that the United States should refrain from “withdrawing from the INF treaty, stopping implementation of other arms control treaties, or ceasing pursuit of future agreements, because it would not serve US interests.”

    Earlier, the US Undersecretary of State for International Security Rose Gottenmoeller told Congress that it was in the interest of the United States to remain in the IMF treaty. Gottenmoeller also said that it was important to try to bring Russia back into compliance with the treaty.

    Congressman from California John Garamendi agreed with Gottenmoeller: "There's a strong argument not to withdraw [from the INF treaty], and that argument has validity. We've got to think rethink this."

    The INF treaty was signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987. It eradicated ground launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges, defined as between 500-5,500 km (300 to 3,400 miles). It also bans the support structures and equipment for such missiles.

    In July, the United States announced Russia was in violation of the INF treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile.

    Russian authorities in return expressed their own complaints about US compliance with the treaty in light of Washington's plans to deploy Mark 41 vertical launching systems in Poland and Romania.

    Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated following Crimea's reunification with Russia in March and Kiev's launch of a military operation against independence supporters in eastern Ukraine in April.

    The United States and a number of its allies have imposed sanctions against Russia, targeting its defense, banking and energy sectors, as well as certain individuals, over Moscow's alleged interference in Ukrainian internal affairs. Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    INF treaty, missile defense, disarmament, United States, Russia
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