The US withdrawal as the worst-case scenario would have a devastating impact on the existing security architecture
By Alexander Polyakov
The US President, Donald Trump, announced the intention to withdraw from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) accusing Russia of violating the document by testing and deploying an allegedly prohibited intermediate-range ground-based cruise missile “Novator 9M729” (SSC-8).
However, no supporting evidence has ever been provided, while the Russian side has repeatedly claimed that it never tested SSC-8 at a range indicated in the Treaty that would definitely be a violation.
On the contrary, it is the US that has extensively used armed drones completely falling under the Treaty definition of intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missiles that is incompatible with the provisions of the document.
Washington is also implementing a programme to produce and test target missiles with specifications similar to intermediate-range and shorter-range ground-launched missiles that also runs counter to the Treaty. We should not forget about the ground-based deployment of Mark 41 Vertical Launching Systems within the Aegis Ashore Anti-Missile Defense System in Poland and Romania.
The launchers located in these countries could be used to fire intermediate-range cruise missiles Tomahawk as well as other missile systems, which is another obvious violation of the INF Treaty.
Why Russia itself has not withdrawn from the Treaty despite these serious concerns? The reason is because we are strongly convinced the document should be preserved amid the current contradictions between our countries and mutual accusations of violating the INF Treaty.
The US withdrawal as the worst-case scenario would have a devastating impact on the existing security architecture and result in a complete dismantling of the global arms control system. We believe most Washington officials and military experts comprehend it, but the question is whether the White House realises it or not.
Writer is the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Uganda