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U.S. looks to test ground-launched cruise missile in August

16 March 2019

According to ANI news reports, the US and Russian Federation relations have become icy since last year's October when US President Donald Trump has alleged Moscow of violating the INF pact and threatened to withdraw from the pact with Moscow.

US officials say the Trump administration has no plans to seek the forward deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe once again, but the breakdown of the treaty threatens a return to an era in which Europeans anxious about Russian nuclear missiles that could strike their cities within a few minutes of launching.

The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev 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. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally began the treaty-sanctioned six-month withdrawal period of February 2.

Once it expires, Washington and Moscow will be free to test, produce and deploy the intermediate-range missiles that both countries have agreed to ban for more than three decades.

The AP news agency reported on Wednesday that the Pentagon plans to hold tests this year of two types of missiles banned by the INF.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Russia's actions were in breach of the INF treaty and posed a serious military threat to Europe. According to a senior defense official, it will essentially involve putting a Tomahawk missile in a container that could be placed on a ship or in a mobile launcher.

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

The defense officials said US allies in Europe and Asia have not yet been consulted about deploying either new missile on their territory.

German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier said, in turn, that he does not rule out a new arms race in the event of the termination of the agreement.

By moving forward with these missile projects, the Pentagon is not excluding the possibility that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty could still survive, although it likely will be terminated in August. The missile is unlikely to be deployed sooner than in five years, the news agency said. "Think Pershing II. It's a missile of that class". The alliance also needs to develop a post-INF arms control strategy because "if the United States tries to bully North Atlantic Treaty Organisation into accepting deployment of such missiles, it is going to provoke a destabilizing action-reaction cycle and missile race". Moscow denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States.

Both the Obama administration and the Trump administration urged Russian Federation to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty and end the production and deployment of its banned intermediate-range missile. "If the Russians come back in, in August we wouldn't do the test", the official said.

U.S. looks to test ground-launched cruise missile in August