It is not surprising Angela Merkel accused Russia for the demise of the INF treaty. The US narrative about termination of the INF Treaty is now accepted by all its partners as an axiom. To say something else is to admit Washington’s cardinal untruth.
NATO stated that Russia bears sole responsibility for the demise of the INF Treaty because it has produced, tested and deployed the 9M729 missile, which violates the Treaty. The US has gathered detailed information on Russia’s flight-testing of the 9M792 missile to distances well over 500 kilometres and has spent almost six years in dialogues with Russia to try to resolve Russia’s non-compliance. However, Russia consistently refused to address US and NATO concerns.
In July 2014, the then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits the US or Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 5500 kilometres. In March 2017, a senior US military official accused Russia of deploying the new missile, which posed a threat to NATO and facilities within the NATO area of responsibility.
Russia’s violations were also acknowledged by the NATO Foreign Ministers in a meeting in Brussels on 4 December 2018. In a joint statement released after the meeting held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 4 and 5 December 2018, NATO Foreign Ministers stated that “Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security.”