US: Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty

Air Force's nuclear missile force
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Air Force personel from the 90th Missile Wing wait for transportation to missile silos following their morning briefing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., April 15, 1997. AP Photo/Eric Draper

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is accusing Russia of violating a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach a, quote, 'very serious matter.'

An administration official says the United States has notified Russia of its determination that it broke the agreement by testing a new ground-launched cruise missile. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

The issue has simmered for a few years, but until Monday the United States had not made the accusation public. Russian officials say they have looked into the allegations and consider the matter closed.

The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's intervention in Ukraine. The New York Times, which first reported the U.S. conclusion, said Obama wrote Putin about the violation Monday.