The US-Soviet Treaty on the Elimination of their stocks of intermediate-range and shorter-range (or “medium-range”) land-based missiles (INF) had been valid for more than three decades and was halted on August 2, 2019. The US withdrew from the agreement because Russia breached its terms, which Russia denies.
American experts believe that the U.S. had all the reasons to accuse Russia of breaching the INF. Some of them warn that the denunciation of the treaty may lead to negative consequences.
An employee of the Arms Control Association Kingston Reef believes that withdrawing from the treaty does not provide the security of the US and American allies in Europe.
“The US administration does not have a viable strategy to reduce European security risks. Russia has got the opportunity to deploy much more such missiles.” In my opinion, the decision to withdraw from the contract is reckless and unreasonable,” said Kingston Reef.
After the denunciation of the treaty, the US also got freedom of action and began developing a medium-range “cruise missile”. In Reef’s words, the Pentagon plans to conduct its tests soon. However, they must be deployed near the Russian borders for such missiles in order to have military significance. So far, NATO and European countries have not supported the idea of deploying American missiles of this class in Europe.
Moreover, the US decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty was made without sufficient consultation with NATO allies.
Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute Richard Weitz believes that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty is a correct and timely step because the agreement is outdated and Washington has made enough effort to preserve it.
“It was inevitable. During the Cold War, the INF Treaty allowed to reduce tension, and after it, helped to continue the dialogue and conclude other agreements. However, the situation has changed for the past two decades: at some moment this agreement must have been updated or replaced,” said Richard Weitz.
Atlantic Council expert Mark Simakovsky has no doubt that Russia has breach the terms of the INF Treaty. However, in his opinion, there is another reason for his denunciation.
“I think that the US Administration differently estimates the significance of this agreement and arms control in general. I think that in the near future we will not see any attempts by the U.S. and Russia to resume the INF Treaty,” he said.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website