News

U.S says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

U.S says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on Monday, June 17, 2013. Obama and Putin discussed the ongoing conflict in Syria during their bilateral meeting. Photo: Associated Press/Evan Vucci, File

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In another sign of deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia, the U.S. government said on Monday that Moscow had violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, and urged immediate bilateral talks on the issue.

The Cold War treaty, ratified in 1988, was designed to eliminate ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,400 miles.

“This is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now,” an administration official said in a statement.

“We encourage Russia to return to compliance with its obligations under the treaty and to eliminate any prohibited items in a verifiable manner,” the official said.

The official did not describe how Russia violated the treaty. But the New York Times had reported in January that Washington informed its NATO partners that Russia had tested a ground-launched cruise missile.

State Department officials had hinted that a formal determination that Russia had violated the treaty could be forthcoming, said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based research and advocacy group.

He said the violation would not represent a new military threat to the United States and its European allies, given Russia’s existing missile arsenal.

But in an interview, Kimball called the infraction “disturbing.”

“It suggests that Russia is moving away from a long U.S.-Russia tradition of restraining the most dangerous weapons even as they have serious disagreements on all sorts of issues,” he said.

The United States notified Russia of its determination and called for senior-level talks “with the aim of assuring the United States that Russia will come back into compliance” with the treaty. “The United States will, of course, consult with allies on this matter to take into account the impact of this Russian violation on our collective security if Russia does not return to compliance,” the official said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Maine Train Death a Suicide, Police Say

Fresh
TRAIN TRACKS

Police say the death of a man killed when he was hit by the Amtrak Downeaster train was likely a suicide.

in Local

Maine’s Moose Season is Underway, Fewer Permits

Fresh
GENERIC MOOSE-BIG

Maine's annual moose hunting season is underway in the northern reaches of the state, with fewer hunters participating this year because of the impact of ticks.

in Local

Bidder Offers $283K for Historic Maine Lighthouse

Fresh
GENERIC PORTLAND HEAD LIGHT LARGE

The top bidder in a government auction for a Maine lighthouse is willing to pay $283,000 for the 1871-built structure.

in Local

Gas Prices Falling in Maine

GENERIC GAS PUMP

Gas prices have fallen 2.8 cents in Maine in the last week.

in Local

West Paris House Fire Displaced 21 Residents

GENERIC FIRE LARGE

WEST PARIS, Maine (AP) - Investigators say an improperly installed wood pellet stove caused a weekend blaze in West Paris that destroyed a home and displaced 21 people.