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The row between the US and Russia over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty began in July 2014, when the US State Department published a Compliance Report, alleging “that the Russian Federation [was] in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”[1]

With subsequent annual findings reconfirming the presence of the prohibited technology, finally on the 26th November, 2018 the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, publicly admitted to the existence of the land-based cruise missile known as SSC-8/9M729.[2]

The revelation came about after President Trump hardened his resolve towards the Kremlin’s misconduct in late October 2018, threatening that “[The White House would] terminate the [INF] agreement” and “pull out”.[3] Disregarding the reason for Mr. Trump’s withdrawal decisions, tensions escalated, with Mr. Putin officially declaring the suspension of the INF treaty on the 2nd February, 2019.[4] This basically constitutes the de facto end of over 30 years of de-nuclearisation efforts, which have kept US and Russian (land) nuclear missiles away from Europe.



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[1] Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments.U.S State Department, pp. 12, July 2014, available at <>

[2] Joseph Trevithick, “Russia Admits Its Allegedly Treaty-Busting Cruise Missile Exists, But Denies U.S. Claims.” The Drive. Nov 2018, at <>

[3] “Trump says US will withdraw from nuclear arms treaty with Russia.” The Guardian. 20 Oct 2018, at < >

[4] “Russia suspends INF nuclear deal with US.” CNBC. 2 Feb 2019, at < >