US Assessing Military Responses to Russian INF Violations

The US is mulling economic sanctions against Russia for violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, as well as potential military responses if Russia actually deploys nuclear cruise missiles in violation of INF, officials told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. “Russian possession, development, or deployment of a weapons system in violation of the treaty will not be ignored,” said Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon. “We are actively reviewing potential economic measures in response to Russia’s violation and the United States is assessing options in the military sphere to ensure that Russia will not gain a significant military advantage from its violation of the INF treaty,” added Rose Gottmoeller, under secretary of state for arms control. Russia has reacted to US negotiations since 2013 by accusing the US of treaty violations, which “we believe, are meant to divert attention from its own violation,” said McKeon. “In our view, all of Russia’s claims are categorically unfounded,” he said. “Russia’s lack of meaningful engagement on this issue, if it persists, will ultimately require the United States to take actions to protect its interests and security, along with those of its allies and partners,” he said, which will, without question, “make Russia less secure.” The US aims to negotiate Russia back into compliance with the treaty but “the Joint Staff has conducted a military assessment of the threat, were Russia to deploy an INF treaty range ground-launched cruise missile in Europe or the Asia-Pacific region,” McKeon noted.