Russia Enters a Treacherous New Post-Arms Control World

06 Feb 2019

(EDM) The United States’ suspension (as of February 2) of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, was no surprise—but still delivered a hard blow to Russia’s international position. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the outdated but still important Cold War–era agreement back in October; and in early December, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) granted Russia 60 days of respite to return to full compliance. Instead, Moscow held a briefing last month for foreign military attachés (the US and its allies duly refused to attend), at which it demonstrated a model of the 9M729 missile accused of violating the treaty (Ezhednevny Zhurnal, January 24). This could have been a first step toward defusing the crisis—if Russia had done this two years ago. But a week prior to the deadline on proving a return to compliance, the briefing revealed itself to be nothing more than a propaganda stunt. That said, Washington has offered Moscow another six-month window to eliminate its 9M729 missiles and launchers in a verifiable way, after which the US’s suspension will be either rescinded or converted into a full withdrawal (Kommersant, February 1). [...]

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