Washington accuses Moscow of INF treaty violation

Washington accuses Moscow of INF treaty violation

The US believes that Russia has deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints by US officials that it violates an arms control treaty banning ground-based US and Russian intermediate-range missiles.

Russia had secretly deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile that Moscow has been developing and testing for several years, despite US complaints that it violated sections of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, a senior Trump administration official said.

The previous US administration of President Barack Obama had protested in an attempt to persuade Moscow to correct the violation while the missile was still in the testing phase, the Trump administration official said.

Russia now has two battalions of the cruise missile, the Times report quoted administration officials as saying. One is located at Russia's missile test site at Kapustin Yar in the country's southeast.

The other cruise missile battalion has been located at an operational base elsewhere in Russia, the New York Times quoted one unidentified official as saying.

The US State Department concluded in a July 2014 arms control report that "the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles."

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