Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
February 2, 2019
On December 4, 2018, the United States announced that the Russian Federation is in material breach of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, an assessment shared by all NATO Allies. The United States also provided notice that unless Russia returned to full and verifiable compliance in 60 days, the United States would suspend its obligations under the Treaty as a consequence for Russia’s material breach.
Russia has not taken the necessary steps to return to compliance over the last 60 days. It remains in material breach of its obligations not to produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile system with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The United States has gone to tremendous lengths to preserve the INF Treaty, engaging with Russian officials more than 30 times in nearly six years to discuss Russia’s violation, including at the highest levels of government. Despite our efforts, Russia continues to deny that its noncompliant missile system – the SSC-8 or 9M729 – violates the Treaty. In accordance with customary international law, the United States has suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty, effective today, in response to Russia’s material breach.
In addition, today the United States provided Russia and other Treaty Parties with formal notice that the United States will withdraw from the INF Treaty in six months, pursuant to Article XV of the Treaty. The United States has concluded that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty arising from Russia’s continued noncompliance have jeopardized the United States’ supreme interests, and the United States can no longer be restricted by the Treaty while Russia openly violates it. If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty by eliminating all 9M729 missiles, their launchers, and associated equipment in this six-month period, the Treaty will terminate.
The United States takes its treaty obligations seriously and will not stand idle when others flout their obligations. Violations of treaty obligations must have consequences. The United States remains committed to effective arms control that advances U.S., allied, and partner security; is verifiable and enforceable; and includes partners that comply responsibly with their obligations. The United States stands ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that meet these criteria. Regrettably, the INF Treaty is no longer effective due to Russia’s ongoing material breach. Today’s actions are to defend U.S. national security and interests and those of our allies and partners.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
The Department of State refers the Embassy of the Russian Federation to 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 signed at Washington December 8, 1987 (INF Treaty), and Diplomatic Note No. 123/2018.
In December 2018, the United States informed INF Treaty parties that, as a consequence of the Russian Federation’s material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty, and in view of the urgent need to pursue expeditiously all measures necessary to protect U.S. national security, the United States would suspend its obligations under the Treaty as between the United States and other Treaty Parties, effective 60 days from December 4, unless the Russian Federation returns to full and verifiable compliance. As of February 2, 2019, it is apparent that the Russian Federation has failed to return to full and verifiable compliance with its obligations under the Treaty. To the contrary, the Russian Federation has continued to produce and field new unites of the INF Treaty-noncompliant 9M729 missile system. Accordingly, the United States has suspended its obligations under the Treaty effective February 2.
Article XV, Paragraph 2, of the INF Treaty gives each Party the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. Taking into account the foregoing, and referring to Diplomatic Note No. 123/2018, the United States has decided that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty arising from Russia’s continued noncompliance have jeopardized the United States’ supreme interests. The current situation, in which the Russian Federation continues to violate the Treaty while the United States abides by it, is untenable. Therefore, in the exercise of the right to withdraw from the Treaty provided in Article XV, Paragraph 2, the United States hereby gives notice of its withdrawal from the Treaty. In accordance with the terms of the Treaty, U.S. withdrawal will be effective six months from the date of this note.
Department of State,
Washington, February 2, 2019