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Cotton Statement on Reports that Russia is Advancing its Missile Program in Violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

October 19, 2016

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on reports by the New York Times that Russia was advancing its missile program in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:

"The INF Treaty has been fundamental to peace and stability in Europe for the past three decades. Allowing it to die a slow death due to the aggressive actions of Vladimir Putin and the inaction of the Obama administration is simply not an option. President Obama should immediately declare Russia in ‘material breach' of the INF Treaty and take the actions afforded by such a declaration to bring Russia back into compliance. These actions must reemphasize a commitment to modernizing all legs of the U.S. nuclear triad-including a replacement for our aging Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCMs)-and taking the declaration of a nuclear No First Use (NFU) policy off the table. Finally, President Obama should make clear the United States will not be legally prohibited from developing an entire class of weapons while Russia advances unencumbered. As long as Russia remains in ‘material breach' of the INF Treaty, the United States should also seek the development or acquisition of a similar class of systems, and accelerate the fielding of counterforce and countervailing strike options. In 2009 President Obama said, ‘Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something'-now is the time for him to show his words meant something."