PoliticsForeign Policy


Russia Tests Trump With Treaty-Violating Missile Deployment

The news came the same day the Pentagon said Russian military planes "buzzed" a U.S. naval ship.
Posted at 8:52 PM, Feb 14, 2017

"I think I'd get along very well with Vladimir Putin," President Donald Trump said while visiting Scotland in 2015. "... Obama and him — he hates Obama. Obama hates him. We have unbelievably bad relationships."

Throughout his campaign — and even after he was elected — Trump said he wanted to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But now that he's in office, Trump is being tested. As The New York Times first reported Tuesday, it appears Russia has violated a 30-year-old treaty by deploying an intermediate-range cruise missile.

The U.S. and then-Soviet Union agreed to get rid of cruise and ballistic missiles launched from the ground with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. They were supposed to be rid of the missiles and equipment associated with them within three years.

The Obama administration accused Russia of violating the treaty in 2014, when the country tested what is thought to be the same missile recently launched.

It was also reported Tuesday that a Russian spy ship was seen off the coast of Delaware, and Russian military planes buzzed — or flew close to — a U.S. naval ship last week.

Russia's Ministry of Defense has denied its planes buzzed a U.S. ship.

The news came just a day after National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn — who had close ties to Russia — resigned.  

The White House said Flynn's resignation was requested after he misled officials — including the vice president — about his discussion of sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. before Trump took office.

Some have speculated Flynn's ouster could affect efforts to improve relations with Russia. However, Russian lawmakers have told Russian news outlets it won't.