The administration of the U.S. President and Congress suspect that Russia is violating the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) that has been in effect since June 1, 1988. It is widely believed in Russia that the agreement was if not a mistake, then a highly controversial decision. However, Washington has no valid claims to Moscow.
According to an American online portal Daily Beast, experts in the U.S. believe that the Russian experts are developing medium-range missiles under the guise of creating intercontinental missiles.
Meanwhile, in accordance with the INF Treaty, Russia and the United States have pledged not to produce, test or deploy ballistic and land-based cruise missiles with the range from 500 to 5500 km. The term of the agreement is unlimited.
Both Russia and the United States have fulfilled the terms of the agreement. Russian experts have expressed doubts about the implementation of their obligations by the Americans. According to some of them, the United States is building medium range ballistic missiles to be used as targets for the missile defense program.
The INF Treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States, and does not apply to other nuclear powers. Of course, this hurts Russia more, as for the U.S. these missiles do not pose any particular threat, unless, of course, they are deployed in Canada, Mexico or Cuba.
"For the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, especially given the fact that other neighboring countries are developing these missile system, the decision was, at the very least, debatable, but it has been made, and we have to consider today's realities," said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting on the implementation of the state armaments program in June of this year.
According to the Daily Beast, the U.S. Administration became concerned about possible violations of the INF treaty by Russia last year. This topic was discussed at a closed briefing with legislators, the acting U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs Madeleine Creedon and the then head of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and now Secretary of State John Kerry. According to the Daily Beast, he reacted rather harshly, stating that a breach of the treaty was inadmissible.
The State Department refused to confirm or deny the information. According to the Daily Beast, there is no clear understanding of the nature of possible violations.
This does not prevent the opponents of the current administration from using the situation. The Republicans in Congress have sent a letter to the White House about possible violations by Russia of the INF Treaty and prepared an amendment to the bill on military expenditures for 2014 fiscal year. Under the amendment, the Obama administration will have to prepare a report for Congress on Russia's compliance with the obligations under the treaty.
Could the defense budget be the culprit? More precisely, lobbying of certain expenditure, otherwise, why announce to the entire world the "concerns" with no specifics?
"There can be many reasons. There is a certain method of testing public opinion - a trial ball," Yuri Rogulev, the director of the fund of the U.S. study named after Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Moscow State University said answering the question of Pravda.Ru about the reasons for the disclosure of such information.
"I do not see any particular problems here. Maybe it's the result of Russia's latest actions in the international arena that were quite successful and there are attempts to attract attention to certain suspicions against Russia. But this should not be perceived as an official position of the United States," said the analyst.
The chief editor of Arsenal of the Fatherland Victor Murakhovski believes that the publication in the Daily Beast can be considered a signal of sort.
"It is no secret that many Russian experts believe the treaty to be disadvantageous for our country. From time to time there are proposals to unilaterally withdraw from this treaty because it is not in the interests of Russia's military security," he told Pravda.Ru.
"In addition, currently some new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles are undergoing testing. One of the tests is carried out at a distance, so to speak, typical for medium-range missiles. Naturally, it surprised the Americans. There were all sorts of names for this test online, "Topolyok," instead of "Topol-M". Presumably this is medium-range missile, although it is not the case," said Viktor Murakhovski.
The Daily Beast article contains a great deal of specific information concerning Russia. It calls the name of a possible new ambassador to Russia who could replace Michael McFaul next year. This is aforementioned Rose Gottemoeller.
Some time ago some Russian media outlets reported that the current ambassador would soon leave Moscow. McFaul, however, downright denied this information.
Germany continues the discussion about the completion and commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. For the time being, it is too early to ascertain that the opponents of the project are gaining the upper hand