Following meetings with Russian officials, John Bolton confirmed that the US has refused Russian calls to remain in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, saying that the American position remains that Russia is “in violation.”
The US announced intentions to withdraw from INF over the weekend, claiming a long-standing believe that Russia is in violation. Russia has maintained that they are not, and has warned that the collapse of the deal threatens a new arms race.
Which may well be the idea, as President Trump has been talking up the creation of new nuclear weapons since the announcement, focused on intermediate forces that the US didn’t have under the treaty.
Bolton’s argument is that so long as Russia doesn’t think they’re in violation, there is no way for the US to ask them to stop being in violation, so there is no way to resolve the impasse.
Despite withdrawing from the treaty, the US has demanded that both Russia and China comply with all INF restrictions. Russia, of course, says they already were complying, and China was never a party to the deal in the first place.