Russia may opt out of Cold War-era missile treaty

A Russian general warned that Russia might consider opting out of a US-Soviet arms treaty that scrapped intermediate range missiles, a newspaper reported Wednesday. The daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Gen. Vladimir Vasilenko, the head of the Defense Ministry's research institute, as saying that Russia could consider the redeployment of intermediate range missiles, which were scrapped under a landmark treaty signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF Treaty, banned production and deployment of medium-range missiles, such as Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing 2, and required that both nations dismantle them. The missiles deployed in the early 1980s were capable of striking targets within the European continent and became a major destabilizing factor as they required shorter time to reach their targets compared with intercontinental ballistic missiles.