The U.S. is prepared to drop out of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) next week unless Russia ceases violations of developing new missiles, a chief State Department arms negotiator said Thursday.
“If Russia isn’t in compliance, we’ll suspend our obligations” under INF, said Andrea Thompson, the State Department’s undersecretary for arms control and international security.
Should the U.S. withdraw, the Defense Department would immediately begin research and development on new intermediate-range missiles and countermeasures to Russia’s new Novator 9M729 missile, which the U.S. claims violates INF bans on land-based cruise missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,420 miles, she said at a breakfast with reporters in Washington, D.C.
“That will start after Feb. 2 if Russia is not in compliance,” Thompson said of the as-yet-undefined U.S. countermeasures. “Our Defense [Department] counterparts will move ahead” with developments.