If Russia breached arms treaty, should the US withdraw?

If Russia breached arms treaty, should the US withdraw?
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Senior lawmakers say it's too early to say if the U.S. should withdraw from a historic arms control deal that has allegedly been breached by Russia.

President Obama spoke with Russian president Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenate confirms Trump's Russia ambassador Trump is right to shake up NATO Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE on Friday about Moscow’s compliance with the 1987 nuclear missile treaty.


The U.S. charges Russia violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty when it tested a banned cruise missile.

The call came one day after the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the administration’s accusations as “unfounded,” adding to the deepening rift that between Washington and Moscow.

The U.S. imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia this week over Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine, where it is accused of providing weapons and training to insurgents fighting that country’s government.

Lawmakers said a U.S. withdrawal from the arms treaty should not be a first step, but should also not be off the table.

“I’d rather put the onus on the Russians than to take the position that we have to withdraw,” Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSaagar Enjeti says Corbyn's defeat in UK election represents 'dire warning' for Democrats Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman MORE (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The Hill. “But obviously if the Russians are unwilling to come into compliance, then you have to consider all options.”

“I think that there’s more of push towards getting Russia to come clean,” said Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (Tenn.), the panel’s top Republican. “That’s the first step, in treaties like this, people wish to take.”

Corker said he thinks there’s no question that Moscow broke the agreement.

The Obama administration argues it would be a mistake for the U.S. to not follow the treaty even if Russia has broken it.

“Frankly, it’s the kind of situation where you want to continue to benefit from the good things you’re getting out of these treaties and, where we’re concerned about non-compliance, you want to continue pressing, and pressing hard,” a senior State Department official said.

And Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinRemembering leaders who put country above party Strange bedfellows oppose the filibuster Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home MORE (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed support for the arms agreement.

“The treaty has too much value to say let’s just pull out,” he said.

The INF Treaty was designed to abolish ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,400 miles. Roughly 2,700 missiles have been eliminated under the agreement.

-Kristina Wong contributed