[Ed. – More on this later. Putin probably has multiple purposes with this. Seems like we were just talking about it being 1987 again.]
And now, right on time for the great U.S.-Russia detente of 2017, two battalions of the missiles have been made operational and deployed to locations in Russia. (Russia’s been using a very similar sea-based missile, which is legal under the treaty, in attacking rebel positions in Syria.) As an intermediate-range missile, the SSC-8 is designed to threaten Russia’s neighbors — like, say, NATO countries to the west, which would be devastated within minutes after launch. The point of the INF Treaty was to lower tensions on the continent by making that sort of quick-strike option forbidden (at least in ground installations). And now here’s Putin, rolling out a small supply to welcome Trump to international geopolitics by raising that tension once again.