WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of developing and testing a Ground-Launched Cruise Missile that exceeds the parameters of the INF Treaty.
Russia has pointed to alleged US violations of the Treaty through the placement of missile defense launchers in Poland and Romania. Moscow has stated the launchers could be used to deploy Tomahawk missiles.
“One is struck by the absence of any activity in resolving the INF treaty compliance concern on the table,” Arms Control Association Senior Fellow Greg Thielmann said.
Thielmann called for an “attitudinal change” on the part of the United States “in order to make progress” on the US complaint of alleged Russian INF violations.
On the ground, such progress would involve engagement of technical experts, military professionals and others to engage in treaty verification, he said.
“The US has been dismissive of all those complaints,” Thielmann stated, and proposed a US overture to bring Russian officials to the missile sites in Europe to demonstrate whether or not the system is out of compliance with the INF Treaty.
“That is a very easy opportunity,” Thielmann claimed.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Catherine Kelleher argued the high-level accusations by US and Russian diplomats are unproductive and amount to a schoolyard fight.
Rather than engaging in an argument “that is really beneath our dignity,” Kelleher proposed revisiting the INF Treaty as a whole, and particularly expanding the Treaty partners to include nations such as China, Pakistan, and India.
Other nuclear weapons states have no obligations to the Treaty, which remains limited to the two signatories, the United States and Russia.
The objective of revisiting or revising the Treaty would be “to strengthen it… or replace it with something that represents a verifiable ban” on intermediate-range dual-capable weapons systems, Kelleher explained.
Early in 2015, the US Department of Defense conducted a classified review of the INF Treaty as required by the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.
US lawmakers and military officials, including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, have proposed that the US consider withdrawing from the INF Treaty. Carter has also recommended possible military responses to alleged Russian violations of the Treaty.
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 kilometers).