U.S. hits Russian missile designer with export restrictions over treaty dispute – media
The United States has announced new licensing and export restrictions on Russian missile designer Novator and a military research company, charging both with involvement in a missile that Washington says violates a key Cold War arms-control treaty, according to Radio Liberty.
In its December 19 announcement, the Commerce Department said Novator and Titan-Barrikady were responsible for producing the cruise missile prohibited by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, RFE/RL reported.
The decisions tighten license and exports requirements for U.S. or other companies that might do business with either company.
"Specifically, these entities produced, for the Russian Federation's Ministry of Defense, a ground-launched cruise-missile system, and associated transporter-erector-launcher, with a range prohibited by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty," the department said in its listing.
"Therefore, there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, that [the companies] have been involved in actions contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States," it said.
Read alsoTrump approves new Russia sanctions for violating Cold War arms pactRussia has repeatedly denied Washington's accusations, beginning publicly in 2014, that it had developed, and later deployed, a ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the treaty. The INF agreement eliminated an entire class of missiles in Europe and is considered a bedrock treaty of U.S.-Russian arms control.
In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement criticizing the decision and accusing the United States of moving to dismantle the treaty.
"The United States has been fascinated with introducing sanctions against us for almost four years, and yet Russia's economy and military might are only increasing," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
"The illusions of some American politicians that we can be intimidated only demonstrates their complete ignorance of Russia and their dangerous short-sightedness."