Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch made the following statement after learning that the Obama Administration has finally acknowledged that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:
“It may not have the same visual and emotional impact as Russian troops entering Ukraine, or the shooting down of a civilian airliner, but when one imagines all of the actions Putin could take to destabilize Europe, violating the INF Treaty is right up there” said Risch. “My colleagues and I have been pressing the Obama administration on this issue for years. It is senseless that it took so long for us to not only call these Russian actions a violation, but also that it took so long for us to brief our NATO allies, and confront the Russians in the first place. Saving INF just hasn’t been a priority for President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Secretary Kerry.”
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has been the bedrock of security and stability in Europe since 1987. When Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed this treaty banning the possession, production or flight testing of ground-launched missiles with ranges of 300 to 3,400 miles, the threat of a nuclear exchange with Russia was significantly reduced.
Risch has sponsored several items calling for accountability under the INF, including S.1924, a bill to require a report on INF Treaty compliance information sharing, and SCR 34, a Concurrent Resolution expressing the sense of Congress that President Obama should hold the Russian Federation accountable for being in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty.
In January of 2013, Risch questioned Secretary of State John Kerry about Russian accountability and treaty compliance at Kerry’s confirmation hearing.