WASHINGTON: The United States has found that Russia violated a 1987 arms control treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile, a senior US official said late Monday.
The finding comes in a 2014 report that concluded Russia was in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which barred it from possessing or producing cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, the official told Agence France-Presse.
President Barack Obama has sent a letter to his counterpart Vladimir Putin on the issue, which the official described as a very serious matter.
Washington was prepared to discuss the issue with Russia immediately at senior-level bilateral talks. Congress and US allies have also been kept abreast of the matter, according to the official.
The subject has been one that Washington has attempted to address with Moscow for some time, according to the official.
In January, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington had raised concerns with Moscow following a New York Times report that Moscow had begun testing a new ground-launched cruise missile as early as 2008, and that the State Department’s senior arms control official had repeatedly raised the issue with Moscow since May 2013.
Psaki said at the time she could not refute the details of the Times report, and there was an ongoing interagency review to determine whether the Russians had violated the terms of a US-Russian arms control pact.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed by then US president Ronald Reagan and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev, eliminated nuclear and conventional intermediate range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.