Voltaire Network

Pushing Back on Russian Propaganda Regarding the INF Treaty and Timeline

| Washington D. C. (États-Unis)
+
JPEG - 33.3 kb

Russian Myth: Russia’s demonstration of the 9M729 on January 23, 2019, proved that the system is INF Treaty compliant and showed that Russia is being transparent.

Fact: Russia’s so-called “demonstration” on January 23, 2019, of what it claimed was the 9M729 launcher and canister did not change the fact that the system is a violation of the INF Treaty, because it has been flight-tested to distances prohibited under the treaty. The United States and most of our NATO Allies did not attend this briefing, because we all saw it for what it was – another attempt to obfuscate while giving the appearance of transparency. The “demonstration” was completely controlled by Russia. There is nothing that Russia can say or show to change the fact that Russia has already tested the 9M729 cruise missile to ranges beyond 500 kilometers in violation of the INF Treaty. The United States provided to Russia in writing an illustrative framework of the steps it would need to take to return to compliance and save the INF Treaty. Only the complete and verifiable destruction of Russia’s 9M729 missiles, launchers, and associated equipment will resolve U.S. concerns.

Russian Myth: Russia is interested in dialogue about the treaty, while the United States is not.

Fact: The United States has spent over six years in dialogue with the Russian Federation to try to resolve Russia’s non-compliance. Prior to the U.S. suspension of its obligations on February 2, the United States raised Russia’s INF violation in more than 30 engagements, including at the highest levels of government. The United States has convened six meetings of technical experts to discuss Russia’s INF Treaty violation since 2014. This included two meetings of the Special Verification Commission, the treaty body responsible for addressing compliance concerns, in November 2016 and December 2017, and four bilateral U.S.-Russia meetings of technical experts, in September 2014, April 2015, June 2018, and January 2019. At each of these meetings, the United States pressed Russia on its violating missile, urged it to come back into compliance, and highlighted the critical nature of our concerns. However, we were met only with obfuscation, falsehoods, and denials. During the past six months, senior U.S. officials continued to discuss the INF issue with their Russian counterparts, including Secretary of State Pompeo in Sochi on May 14, 2019 and at the July 17, 2019 Strategic Security Dialogue, where Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan led the U.S. interagency delegation.

Russian Myth: We gave the Americans fully detailed information about when and at what distance tests of this missile had been conducted.

Fact: For over four years Russia denied the existence of the missile and provided no information about it, despite the United States providing Russia the location of the tests and the names of the companies involved in the development and production of the missile. Only after we publicly announced the missile system’s Russian designator did Russia admit that the missile exists, and it has since changed its story by claiming that the missile is incapable of ranges beyond 500 kilometers. Russia claims that it is not obligated to provide the United States any more information about the missile, its capability, or its testing history to support Russia’s contention that the missile is treaty-compliant. Despite such obfuscation, Russia claims that it wants to preserve the treaty.

The United States has presented Russia many sets of questions over the last six years – always addressing the same set of facts regarding the ongoing violation that Russia refuses to discuss. Russia has refused to answer key U.S. questions about its violating missile. First, the Russians claimed they could not identify the missile of concern to the United States, despite the United States having provided extensive information about its characteristics and testing history. Only later, when the United States forced Russia to acknowledge the existence of the missile by publicly releasing its Russian designator, did the Russians claim the missile was not captured under the INF Treaty because its range did not exceed 500km. Russia now claims it is not obligated to provide any additional information about this missile.

Russian Myth: The United States wants to start an arms race.

Fact: The facts are that the Russian Federation is producing and fielding a new offensive capability that is prohibited by the INF Treaty. The United States is not. The current situation is not the preference or creation of the United States. The onus clearly falls on Russia. As stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an address to the United States Congress on April 2, 2019, “NATO’s position is united and clear. Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty. There are no new American missiles in Europe. But there are new Russian missiles.” The United States is not starting an arms race.

Furthermore, it is Russia’s President Vladimir Putin who has prioritized a massive military rearmament program, who touted the development of five new strategic offensive nuclear arms in March 2018, regularly brandishes the value of Russia’s nuclear weapons, and who openly threatens to attack Europe with Russian missiles.

Russian Myth: The United States is cheating, not Russia.

Fact: The United States is in compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty, and Allies affirmed this most recently in a statement issued by NATO Foreign Ministers on December 4, 2018. Russia is not in compliance and has ignored calls for transparency from the United States and Europe. In contrast to Russia’s refusal to answer substantively key U.S. questions about the SSC-8/9M729, the United States has provided Russia with detailed information explaining why the United States is in compliance with the INF Treaty. The United States has even presented some of this information publicly, including in a fact sheet on the State Department webpage.

Russian Myth: The United States is undermining European security.

Fact: Russia is undermining European security with its INF-violating missile that was developed specifically to destroy key European military and economic targets and coerce NATO governments. As NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has said: “The problem is the deployment of new Russian missiles. There are no new U.S. missiles in Europe, but there are more Russian missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and those missiles put the INF Treaty in jeopardy.”

Russia’s willingness to erode European security and reject international norms by violating a principal arms control agreement should not be a surprise. The INF Treaty violation follows a disturbing pattern of Russian threatening activity that includes its purported annexation of Crimea, a coup attempt in Montenegro, multiple cyber hacks and attacks, interference in Western elections, and the attempted assassination of Sergey and Yulia Skripal with a military-grade nerve agent on the territory of a NATO ally.

Russian Myth: The United States is abandoning arms control.

Fact: As described in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, the United States is committed to arms control efforts that advance U.S., allied, and partner security; are verifiable and enforceable; and include partners that comply responsibly with their obligations. An arms control treaty that restrains only one side, while the other violates it with impunity, is not effective in making us safer. Rather, it undermines the very idea of arms control as a tool to enhance our collective security. The United States is acting to preserve the role of arms control in reducing the risk of war and avoiding unnecessary and destabilizing military competition.

Russian Myth: The United States is manufacturing its allegations against Russia as an excuse to exit the treaty.

Fact: The Russian Federation is producing and fielding a new offensive capability prohibited by the INF Treaty. The Russian Federation created this problem, not the United States. The United States has long maintained that an INF Treaty that all parties comply with contributes to global security and stability. The United States has discussed this violation with Russia for over six years in an effort to convince Russia to return to compliance with the treaty. We also have long stated that the status quo is untenable and our patience is not unlimited. Unfortunately, Russia has taken no significant steps toward resolving this problem.

Timeline of Highlighted U.S. Diplomacy Regarding the INF Treaty Since 2013

May 2013 Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Donilon and Deputy Secretary of State Burns meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev. The United States first raises INF concerns with Russian officials. Russia subsequently denies any noncompliant activities.

May 2013 Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Gottemoeller raises U.S. concerns with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov.

June 25, 2013 Russian Ambassador Kislyak provides initial Russian response denying noncompliant activities and reaffirms Russia’s commitment to the INF Treaty.

November 16, 2013 DFM Ryabkov provides final Russian response denying noncompliant activities and reaffirms Russia’s commitment to the INF Treaty.

January 2014 U/S Gottemoeller meeting with NATO Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation Committee.

July 31, 2014 U.S. releases 2014 Compliance Report, finding Russia in violation of the INF Treaty. This marks the first public announcement of the U.S. determination regarding Russia’s violation. Shortly after the report’s release, Secretary of Defense Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Dempsey discuss the Russian violation with their Russian counterparts.

September 5, 2014 Wales NATO Summit Communique states: “…Allies call on Russia to preserve the viability of the INF Treaty through ensuring full and verifiable compliance.”

September 11, 2014 Per U.S. initiative, bilateral experts meeting takes place. Russia denies the existence of the missile.

February 2015 Secretary of Defense Hagel discusses Russian INF Treaty violations at the NATO Nuclear Planning Group.

April 20, 2015 Per U.S. initiative, second bilateral experts meeting takes place. Russia denies the existence of the missile.

May 12, 2015 Secretary Kerry raises the issue with President Putin.

June 5, 2015 2015 Arms Control Compliance Report affirms Russia’s continuing violation of the INF Treaty.

December 28, 2015 Secretary Kerry raises the issue with Foreign Minister Lavrov.

February 16, 2016 U/S Gottemoeller meeting with DFM Ryabkov.

April 8, 2016 U/S Gottemoeller meeting with DFM Ryabkov.

April 11, 2016 2016 Arms Control Compliance Report affirms Russia’s continuing violation of the INF Treaty.

June 2016 Secretary of Defense Carter discusses Russian INF Treaty violations at the NATO Nuclear Planning Group.

July 9, 2016 Warsaw NATO Summit Communique states: “Allies therefore continue to call on Russia to preserve the viability of the INF Treaty through ensuring full and verifiable compliance.”

Nov. 15-16, 2016 The United States convenes the Special Verification Commission for the first time since 2003.

December 2016 The United States briefs allies and partners that U.S. concerns remain unresolved.

April 12, 2017 Secretary of State Tillerson meets with FM Lavrov.

April 14, 2017 2017 Arms Control Compliance Report affirms Russia’s continuing violation of the INF Treaty.

May 8, 2017 U/S Shannon raises the INF issue with DFM Ryabkov.

May 10, 2017 Secretary Tillerson raises the INF issue with FM Lavrov.

June 2017 Secretary of Defense Mattis discusses Russian INF Treaty violation at NATO Nuclear Planning Group.

September 12, 2017 Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Shannon raises the INF Treaty issue as part of the discussion with DFM Ryabkov at Strategic Stability Talks in Helsinki, Finland.

November 2017 Secretary of Defense Mattis discusses Russian INF Treaty violations at the NATO Nuclear Planning Group.

November 3, 2017 Ambassador Huntsman meets with DFM Ryabkov to inform Russia on the U.S. Integrated Strategy of diplomatic, military, and economic steps the United States will take to encourage Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance with the INF Treaty.

November 6, 2017 NSC Senior Directors Christopher Ford and Fiona Hill meet with Russian Ambassador Antonov to inform Russia on the U.S. Integrated Strategy.

November 29, 2017 NSC Senior Director Christopher Ford publicly announces U.S. assessment that the Russian designator for the SSC-8 missile is “9M729” during remarks at the Wilson Center.

December 8, 2017 The United States announces its INF Treaty Integrated Strategy with press releases, fact sheets, and an interview by U/S Shannon with Kommersant.

December 9, 2017 Russian DFM Ryabkov publicly acknowledges the existence of the 9M729 but claims it is not capable of INF range.

Dec. 12-14, 2017 The United States again convenes the Special Verification Commission.

December 15, 2017 The North Atlantic Council issues a statement highlighting concerns about Russia’s missile development, affirming U.S. compliance, and calling on Russia to engage constructively.

December 20, 2017 U.S. Federal Register publishes final rule for adding Novator and Titan, two companies involved in the development of the SSC-8/9M729, to the Department of Commerce Entity List.

February 2, 2018 NATO High Level Group meeting; the United States requests Allies to engage Russia on INF Treaty violation.

February 14, 2018 Secretary of Defense Mattis discusses Russia’s INF Treaty violation at NATO Nuclear Planning Group.

March 5, 2018 Ambassador Huntsman discusses INF issue with Russian DFM Ryabkov.

April 12, 2018 2018 Arms Control Compliance Report affirms Russia’s continuing violation of the INF Treaty.

May 8, 2018 NATO High Level Group meeting; the United States requests Allies to engage Russia on INF Treaty violation.

June 8, 2018 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford raises INF concerns with Russian Chief of the General Staff Gerasimov.

June 15, 2018 Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Thompson raises the issue with Russian Ambassador Antonov.

June 21, 2018 Per U.S. initiative, third bilateral experts meeting takes place. Russia refuses further discussion of the violating missile.

July 11, 2018 Brussels NATO Summit Declaration states: “Allies believe that, in the absence of any credible answer from Russia on this new missile, the most plausible assessment would be that Russia is in violation of the Treaty.”

August 23, 2018 Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor Bolton meets Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev in Geneva.

October 4, 2018 Secretary Mattis engages NATO Allies on Russia’s INF Treaty violation.

October 20, 2018 President Trump publicly states Russia has not adhered to the INF Treaty and that he intends to exit it.

October 23, 2018 Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor Bolton meetings with President Putin, FM Lavrov, and Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev.

October 25, 2018 NATO North Atlantic Council meeting; the United States engages with Allies on Russia’s INF Treaty violations.

October 31, 2018 NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg comments on the INF Treaty and posts on NATO website: “No arms control arrangement can be effective if it is only respected by one side.”

November 8, 2018 Assistant Secretary of State Poblete, Assistant Secretary of Defense Anderson, and NSC Senior Director Morrison brief Allies at NATO Nuclear Consultation Meeting.

December 4, 2018 Secretary of State Pompeo declares that the United States has found Russia in material breach of the INF Treaty and will suspend U.S. obligations under the treaty as a remedy for Russia’s breach in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance. NATO Foreign Ministers issue a statement in strong support of the finding that Russia is in material breach of the treaty.

January 15, 2019 Under Secretary of State Thompson discusses the INF Treaty with DFM Ryabkov in Geneva. The United States provides Russia in writing an illustrative framework of steps it would need to take to return to compliance.

January 16, 2019 Under Secretary Thompson briefs NATO and other allies and partners on her January 15 meeting with DFM Ryabkov.

January 24, 2019 NATO High Level Group meeting, U.S. provides Allies an update on INF Treaty engagement and potential next steps.

January 25, 2019 During a NATO-Russia Council meeting, Allies urge Russia again to return to full and verifiable compliance with the INF Treaty.

February 1 Secretary Pompeo announces that in light of Russia’s failure to return to compliance following the U.S. announcement on December 4, the United States will suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty on February 2. He also announces that on February 2 the United States will provide to Treaty Parties a six-month written notice of U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, pursuant to Article XV of the treaty.

February 15-17, 2019 Under Secretary Thompson participates in the Munich Security Conference, where the INF Treaty was a key topic of conversation.

April 2, 2019 Under Secretary Thompson raises the INF Treaty with Allies during meetings at the United Nations Security Council Non-proliferation Treaty discussions.

April 2, 2019 NATO High Level Group meeting, U.S. provides Allies an update on INF Treaty engagement and potential next steps.

April 23, 2019 Under Secretary Thompson engages Allies on the INF Treaty at the NATO Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation Committee.

April 30, 2019 Under Secretary Thompson consults with Allies at the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting in New York.

May 14, 2019 Secretary Pompeo again urges Russia to return to compliance with the INF Treaty in a bilateral meeting with FM Lavrov in Sochi.

June 6, 2019 NATO High Level Group meeting, U.S. provides Allies an update on INF Treaty engagement and potential next steps.

June 25, 2019 Under Secretary Thompson raises the issue with Russian Ambassador Antonov.

June 26, 2019 NATO Nuclear Planning Group meeting, Acting Secretary of Defense Esper provides Allies an update on INF Treaty and potential next steps.

June 29, 2019 President Trump discusses arms control with President Putin at the G20 Summit in Osaka.

July 1, 2019 State Department Senior Bureau Official for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance DiNanno raises the issue with Russian counterparts in Washington.

July 5, 2019 During a NATO-Russia Council meeting, Allies urge Russia again to return to full and verifiable compliance with the INF Treaty.

July 17, 2019 Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan and Under Secretary Thompson lead a U.S. delegation of senior officials from the National Security Council, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy to Geneva, Switzerland to participate in a U.S.-Russia Strategic Security Dialogue. DFM Ryabkov led the Russian delegation.

Voltaire Network

Voltaire, international edition

Article licensed under Creative Commons

The articles on Voltaire Network may be freely reproduced provided the source is cited, their integrity is respected and they are not used for commercial purposes (license CC BY-NC-ND).

Support Voltaire Network

You visit this website to seek quality analysis that enables you to forge your own understanding of today’s world. In order to continue our work, we need you to support our efforts.
Help us by making a contribution.

How to participate in Voltaire Network?

The members of our team are all volunteers.
- Professional-level mother-tongue translators: you can help us by translating our articles.