Congress is stepping up pressure on the White House to confront Russia over allegations that it is cheating on a key nuclear arms treaty – a face off that could further strain U.S.-Moscow relations and dampen President Barack Obama's hopes to add deeper cuts in nuclear arsenals to his legacy.
The Russians are accused of testing a new ground-launched cruise missile in violation of the treaty. Russian officials say they have looked into the allegations and consider the matter closed.
It's unclear why the administration, which has raised the issue with Russia through diplomatic channels, doesn't want to publicly blow the whistle on Moscow's alleged violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed in 1987. The treaty banned all U.S. and Russian land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 miles and 3,400 miles.