US plans August test of long-banned type of missile

US plans August test of long-banned type of missile

The missile, which is believed to have a range of 1000 km (620 miles), would be tested in August.

The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the U.S. Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world's two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

One project was described by the Associated Press, which spoke to Pentagon officials, as a "low-flying cruise missile with a potential range of about 1,000 kilometers". The tests are scheduled to take place immediately after the US' official withdrawal from the INF treaty with Russian Federation is finalized.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Russia's actions were in breach of the INF treaty and posed a serious military threat to Europe.

The United States on February 2 launched the six-month process of leaving the INF Treaty after Washington and NATO repeatedly accused Moscow of violating the accord by developing the 9M729 cruise missile, also known as the SSC-8.

However, the two sides have been accusing each other of violating the arms control agreement amid increasing tensions in recent years.

"It is the U.S. and - not Russian Federation - that violated the provisions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty".

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"We're going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August", a senior defense official, who declined to be named, was quoted by Reuters as saying on March 13, according to RFE/RL.

The treaty required the parties to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 km.

It's unclear if the United States will develop an all-new missile booster for the new IRBM or if the payload will be a hypersonic weapon.

The intermediate-range ballistic missile that the Pentagon is planning to test in November is a longer-term effort.

The envoy claimed that all decisions over the INF pact were made before the withdrawal of Washington was even announced.

The defense officials told reporters that allies in Europe and Asia have not yet been consulted about the planned missile tests or if they would be deployed on their territory.

The senior defense official said the Pentagon would stand down with the tests if Russian Federation were to come back into compliance and the treaty survived. The missile is unlikely to be deployed sooner than in five years, the news agency said. Washington on many occasions had accused Russian Federation of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington's non-compliance.

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