Report: US officials say Russia violated treaty

The United States believes Russia has tested a new ground-launched cruise missile as far back as 2008, which could be a violation of a treaty between the two countries.

The U.S. informed its allies this month that Russia had been running flight tests of the missile, according to a report Thursday in The New York Times.

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A 1987 treaty signed by then-President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev bans such tests. The agreement is considered to have played an integral role in bringing the Cold War to an end. 

Obama administration officials, according to the Times’s report, are not yet ready to accuse Russia of violating the treaty.

“The United States never hesitates to raise treaty compliance concerns with Russia, and this issue is no exception,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, told the Times. “There’s an ongoing review process, and we wouldn’t want to speculate or prejudge the outcome.” 

The State Department’s senior arms control official, Rose Gottemoeller, has been raising the issue with Russian officials since May, according to the Times’s report.

The officials have claimed they’ve looked into the issue, and the case is closed.

Some U.S. officials, including members of Congress, are aware of Russia’s tests and want the White House to issue a firmer response, the Times reports. 

American intelligence agencies gathered information for years about Russia’s new missile system, before they realized in 2011 Russia might have disobeyed the treaty’s requirements.

Secretary of State John Kerry was briefed about the issue in 2012, according to The Daily Beast, and warned Russia’s actions could damage arms control in the future.