Pentagon planning to test long-banned missiles after INF pullout: RFE/RL

US plans to test missiles banned by INF Treaty in 2019 Report

Pentagon planning to test long-banned missiles after INF pullout: RFE/RL

U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Treaty due to Russia's violation on February 1.

However, the future of New Start seems bleak, with experts viewing the possibility of the agreement being abandoned by its signatories as a real threat, especially since the U.S. and Russian Federation have already pulled out of the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The official said the missile was different from the Army Tactical Missile System and would more closely resemble the Pershing II ballistic missiles that the United States deployed at the end of the Cold War in the years before the signing of the INF Treaty. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russian Federation returns to "real and verifiable" compliance, he said.

The missile can be deployed within 18 months. He was not specific, but defense officials on Wednesday spelled out a plan for developing two non-INF compliant, non-nuclear missiles.

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to design new weapons banned under the pact but said he would deploy them only if the United States does.

"We're going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August", senior defense official told Reuters today. The U.S. military could keep it in its arsenal at home for possible deployment if a situation warranted.

Arms control advocates and Democrats in Congress have questioned the wisdom of leaving the INF treaty, while accepting US allegations that Russian Federation is violating it by deploying a cruise missile that can target American allies in Europe.

The defense officials said USA allies in Europe and Asia have not yet been consulted about deploying either new missile on their territory. The ballistic missile, however, is likely to take longer. It would not be ready for deployment for at least five years. NATO is now studying the implications of the demise of the INF treaty and possible military responses. Moscow denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States. 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". "If the Russians come back in, in August we wouldn't do the test", the official said.

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