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New U.S. Sanctions Prepared against Russia over Alleged INF Treaty Violations; Moscow Rejects Ultimata

Dec. 9, 2017 (EIRNS)—It is reported by multiple U.S. media that the U.S. Commerce Department has prepared sanctions against Russian companies, which are said to be involved in Russian weaponry, alleged to be in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The media assert that an unnamed administration figure outlined the sanctions decision to reporters on Friday, Dec. 8, as the conclusion of a National Security Council policy review, which the official said also includes the decision that the Defense Department will begin research and development of the new nuclear cruise missile specified in the recently approved defense policy bill.

The press briefing was given on the eve of the meeting of the Special Verification Commission (SCV), which oversees treaty implementation which is being held at U.S. request next week. State Department spokesman Heather Nauert yesterday added to the press barrage that the United States would stop its intermediate-range missile systems research, if Russia would comply with the INF Treaty stipulations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a cautionary comment in the midst of this furor, noting that yesterday was the 30th anniversary of that INF Treaty, and recalling with regret that Russia’s 2007 proposal to transform the bilateral INF Treaty into a universal treaty was never accepted.

In the past three decades,

"the U.S. seems to have interpreted the contractual obligation [of the treaty] rather freely in those cases when the treaty hindered developing the arms important to the U.S. At the same time, the United States continues to bring forward unfounded accusations of Russia’s breaching the treaty,"

the Foreign Ministry states.

"We want to stress once again that Russia will continue to fulfill the INF Treaty in its entirety for as long as our partners do the same. We are ready to engage in a non-politicized, professional dialogue with the United States regarding the issues around the treaty. However, attempts to communicate with us in the language of ultimatums or to put military and political pressure on Russia through sanctions (which has been discussed with great excitement in Washington) are unacceptable.

"We proceed from the premise that it is important to make joint efforts with our American counterparts to sustain the treaty."