What is the INF Treaty?
The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, also known as the INF Treaty, required the destruction of U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles (“GLBMs” and “GLCMs”) with a range capability between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, and their associated launchers, support structures, and equipment, within three years after the Treaty entered into force in 1988. At the time it was signed, the Treaty’s verification regime was the most detailed and stringent in the history of nuclear arms control. The INF Treaty was designed to eliminate all INF Treaty-prohibited systems in a short time span, and to ensure compliance with the total ban on the possession, production, and flight-testing of such systems. The INF Treaty is of unlimited duration.
On October 20, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would exit the INF Treaty in response to Russia’s longstanding violation of its obligations under the Treaty. On December 4, 2018, Secretary Pompeo announced that Russia was in material breach of the INF Treaty, and that the United States would suspend its obligations in 60 days should Russia not return to full and verifiable compliance. This finding was fully supported by NATO Allies.
On February 1, 2019, Secretary Pompeo announced that the United States would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty on February 2, and would also provide Treaty parties with six-month notice of its intent to withdraw from the Treaty, pursuant to Article XV of the Treaty. Unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance in 6 months, the U.S. decision to withdraw will stand, and the Treaty will end. These actions were again fully supported by NATO Allies.
How is Russia violating the INF Treaty?
In 2014, the United States first declared Russia in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to produce, possess, or flight-test a GLCM with a range capability between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The United States subsequently identified Russia’s violating weapon as the SSC-8 missile system. The Russian designator for this system is 9M729. The United States reaffirmed that Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The violating missile is distinct from the R-500/SSC-7 GLCM and the RS-26 ICBM, and is developed by Novator Design Bureau and Titan Central Design Bureau. Russia has attempted to conceal the nature of the SSC-8 program by obfuscating and lying about the missile’s test history.
How has the United States tried to address Russia’s violation?
Since first informing Russia of U.S. concerns about Russia’s INF Treaty compliance in 2013, the United States worked to induce Russia to return to compliance with its obligations. The United States has raised the issue of Russia’s INF violation on countless occasions, including with Russian officials at the highest levels of government. The United States has provided detailed information to the Russian Federation over the course of its bilateral and multilateral engagements, including more than enough technical information about the SSC-8 missile for the Russian side to engage substantively on the issue of its obligations under the INF Treaty.
In 2017, the Trump Administration redoubled U.S. efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with an integrated strategy of diplomatic, economic, and military measures. Highlights since 2013 include:
- Over 30 engagements with Russian officials at senior levels.
- 6 expert-level meetings to discuss Russia’s violation. This included 2 sessions of the Special Verification Commission (SVC), the Treaty’s implementation body, and 4 bilateral meetings of technical experts.
- 2 Russian entities involved in the violation were added to the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List.
- Secured funding from Congress to start Treaty-compliant research and development on conventional, ground-launched, intermediate-range systems to show Russia the cost of endangering the INF Treaty.
- 3 formal statements from NATO demanding that Russia be transparent about its violation.
- 5 annual compliance reports reflecting the U.S. finding of Russia’s noncompliance with the Treaty.
The below documents provide details on the extensive U.S. efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with its INF obligations, and respond to common Russian false allegations and narratives regarding the INF Treaty.
- Timeline of Highlighted U.S. Diplomacy Regarding the INF Treaty Since 2013
- INF Myth Busters: Pushing Back on Russian Propaganda Regarding the INF Treaty
- White House Fact Sheet: President Donald J. Trump to Withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
- Refuting Russian Allegations of U.S. Noncompliance With the INF Treaty
Past Compliance Reports
The Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance annually produces the Department of State’s report on “Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments.” Every report since 2014 has determined Russia to be in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty. These reports can be found below:
- 2019 Compliance Report
- 2018 Compliance Report
- 2017 Compliance Report
- 2016 Compliance Report
- 2015 Compliance Report
- 2014 Compliance Report
- 08/02/19 Statement by Secretary Pompeo: U.S. Withdrawal from the INF Treaty on August 2, 2019
- 02/04/19 Op-Ed by Ambassador Jon Huntsman for RBC
- 02/02/19 U.S. Intent To Withdraw from the INF Treaty February 2, 2019; Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo; Washington, DC
- 02/01/19 North Atlantic Council Statement on Russia’s Failure to Comply with the INF Treaty
- 02/01/19 Statement by President Trump Regarding the INF Treaty
- 02/01/19 Remarks by Secretary Pompeo on the INF Treaty; Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo; Washington, DC
- 12/04/18 Statement by NATO Foreign Ministers on the INF Treaty
- 12/04/18 Press Availability at NATO Headquarters; Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo; Brussels, Belgium
- 12/04/18 Russia’s Violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC
- 07/11/18 NATO Brussels Summit Declaration
- 12/15/17 Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
- 12/14/17 Thirty-First Session of the Special Verification Commission Under the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty); Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC
- 12/08/17 30th Anniversary of the INF Treaty
- 12/08/17 INF Treaty: At a Glance
- 12/08/17 Trump Administration INF Treaty Integrated Strategy; Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert; Washington, DC
- 12/08/17 U.S. Response to the Russian Federation’s INF Treaty Violation: Integrated Strategy