Tal AxelrodJanuary 23, 2019 – 09:36 AM EST
Russia on Wednesday revealed to foreign military members and journalists a cruise missile system that U.S. officials say violates a key nuclear pact signed between Moscow and Washington during the Cold War.
Russian officials revealed the missile after a briefing held by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to Reuters, in their latest attempt to prove the missile does not breach the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and urge President Trump to keep the U.S. in the Reagan-era deal.
Trump said in October that the U.S. would withdraw from the landmark pact after his administration accused Russia of violating the deal.
Russia’s “decision to violate the INF Treaty and other commitments all clearly indicate that Russia has rebuffed repeated U.S. efforts to reduce the salience, role, and number of nuclear weapons,” the administration wrote in a nuclear strategy document last year.
The pact bans all land-based missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,420 miles and includes missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads. The original ban between Moscow and Washington resulted in 2,692 missiles being destroyed.
Russia argues that the missile’s range puts it outside the restrictions of the treaty and is not as long as U.S. officials claim. Ryabkov told reporters Wednesday that Washington has made it clear to the Kremlin that its decision to withdraw from the INF is final.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that during talks in Geneva he offered during to allow U.S. experts to inspect the missile, but the offer was declined, according to The Associated Press. The U.S. negotiators instead insisted that the missile be destroyed.
The quagmire between Moscow and Washington sets the stage for Trump to make good on his promise to withdraw from the deal on Feb. 2 in a move that could throw other Russia-U.S. nuclear pacts into question.