In a turn of events that surprises no one, Russia continues to act in a belligerent fashion on the world stage.

While testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on June 25, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work spoke strongly against Russia’s “provocations,” calling them “irresponsible” and an attempt to “intimidate our allies and us.”

Since its widely-condemned invasion of Ukraine, Russia has steadily ratcheted up its rhetoric towards its many critics, and recently saw fit to pointedly remind the rest of the world that it is a world power with large nuclear capabilities.

Russia’s remarkably poor track record of noncompliance with arms control treaties compounds the tension of the situation.

Moscow has flouted most arms control agreements it has ever entered into with the United States.

The U.S. can now add the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to this list of broken promises.

Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to remove from their arsenals all ground-launched missiles with ranges from 300 to 3,400 miles, which resulted in the first actual reduction of the nuclear arsenals of both sides.

Russia’s wholesale abandonment of its obligations under the INF Treaty, coupled with its aggressive and escalating rhetoric, has drawn the ire of the U.S. defense establishment. In the same testimony, Secretary Work had harsh words for Russia concerning its INF violations:

 Our goal is to return [Russia] to compliance to preserve the viability of that treaty. Under any circumstances, however, we will not allow them to gain significant military advantage through INF violations. We are developing and analyzing response options for the president and we’re consulting with our allies on the best way forward here.

Work also condemned what has been described as “escalate to de-escalate,” a particularly disturbing facet of Moscow’s defense posture where use of nuclear weapons is viewed as a de-escalatory tactic.

Work compared this strategy to, “playing with fire. Escalation is escalation, and nuclear use would be the ultimate escalation.”

As Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter recently said, “Moscow’s nuclear saber rattling raises questions about Russia’s commitment to strategic stability and the profound caution and respect that world leaders in the nuclear age have shown towards the brandishing of these weapons.”

Russia’s aggressive antics merit a strong response from the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has shown no inclination to lower the tone of its rhetoric or cease harassing its neighbors and U.S. allies alike.

Both this administration and the next should take concrete steps to reign in Russian aggression before it manifests itself in further hostile action against the U.S. or its allies.

Cameron Swathwood is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.