RS-24 Yars ballistic missiles. © Photo Defense Ministry press service

Josh Rogin, Bloomberg: U.S. Weighing Punishments for Russia’s Nuclear Violations

The Obama administration is considering a range of options to respond to Russia’s ongoing violation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. Part of the response could involve deploying new U.S. weapons to Eastern Europe.

Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, the outgoing vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an audience Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that Russia continues to violate the 1987 agreement, which banned both the U.S. and Russia from developing or deploying nuclear weapons with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The treaty was the first nuclear arms agreement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.

The administration is currently debating both defensive and offensive responses, Winnefeld said, while top officials continue pushing the Russians to get back into compliance. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the issue with Russian leadership “very recently,” Winnefeld added.

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WNU Editor: The U.S. is in a poor position to negotiate a way out of this problem. The Obama administration's decision to unilaterally cancel the missile defense program in eastern Europe took away the one lever that they had to bring Moscow to the negotiating table. Now .... the White House has only two options available .... do nothing, or spend money on deploying new U.S> weapons to Europe.

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