In 1987, a treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev prohibited the testing of medium range nuclear missiles. Now, there are growing concerns that Russia is violating the agreement that helped to end the Cold War. The State Department has yet to formally accuse Russia of violating the terms of the deal. But the United States has told NATO allies that Russia has tested the missile. “The United States never hesitates to raise treaty compliance concerns with Russia, and this issue is no exception,” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, told The New York Times.
“There’s an ongoing review process, and we wouldn’t want to speculate or prejudge the outcome. The State Department has had suspicions that Russia was testing missiles designed to strike targets in Europe since 2008. When diplomats raise the issue with Russian officials, Moscow consistently denies it and says it considers the matter settled. The disagreements over nuclear weapons are the latest in a series of rifts between Russia and the United States. The most visible is Russia’s grant of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Moscow and Washington have been on the opposite sides of nearly every big international issue, from Syria to Iran to the recent turmoil in Ukraine. The spat over the nuclear treaty is especially troubling. Nuclear agreements like the one Russia is suspected of violating have been the bedrock of the post-Cold War relationship between Russia and the United States, along with NATO allies.
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