Russia’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement this weekend warning that US deployments of $800 million worth of missile defense system into Poland and Romania amount to a “gross violation” of the Intermediate Forces Nuclear Treaty, which the US and Soviet Union reached in the 19800s.
The US has long tried to dismiss this complaint by insisting that the missile defense system wasn’t targeting Russia, long presenting it as aimed at Iran, despite being wholly outside of the range of even Iran’s most advanced missiles. Russian officials say the letter of the treaty is very clear, and the deployments amount to an attempt to weaken the Russian arsenal.
The US has accused Russia of violating the treaty with its own deployments of missiles in recent years, though as yet it appears unclear if the Russian missiles are nuclear-armed, and some have indicated that Russia has attempted to stay just barely within the terms of the treaty, while trying to counterbalance the US deployments.
This has been a recurring problem with modernizing the nuclear treaties, as the territory split in Europe is vastly different than it was during the Cold War, and the US has sought to outright avoid any deal which puts the missile defense systems explicitly within the treaties’ attempts to ensure a balance of force.