U.S. planning to test long-banned missiles

Pentagon eager to test banned missiles after discarding Cold War-era nuke treaty

The Pentagon plans to test two types of missiles banned for over 30 years under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty - reinforcing suspicions it has been preparing for this for years.

In August, the Pentagon intends to test a cruise missile with a range of about 1,000 km, capable of flying at a low altitude. "If Russia and the United States were to reach a deal to rescue the INF treaty before August, these projects would not go forward", the news agency said. The official also stated that the United States is also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November and that both the missiles would not be nuclear, but conventional.

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

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

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One defense official said it was possible that the intermediate-range ballistic missile could be deployed on Guam, a USA territory, which would be close enough to Asia to pose a potential threat to China and Russian Federation.

The U.S. ground-launch cruise missile is slated for testing in August just after the treaty formally ends. But Trump withdrew from the treaty on February 1 and triggered a formal six-month wait period before the final expiry of the agreement this summer. The pact banned all ground-launch missiles, both nuclear and nonnuclear, with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers, or about 310 to 3,400 miles.

"I think this particular White House and this particular national security adviser (John Bolton) are intent on the treaty coming to an end, so they have designs on a post-INF world in which the fielding of these capabilities is no longer prohibited either in Europe or in the Asia-Pacific", Reif said. The systems the Pentagon is planning to test are similar to the missiles that the United States deployed in the 1980s, although without nuclear warheads attached.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Europe would be most vulnerable to any negative consequences of the potential collapse of the INF Treaty.

"We haven't engaged any of our allies about formal deployment", the senior official said. "It is the United States that included a provision on R&D on these missiles in the draft budget", the Kremlin spokesman said, TASS reported. "You have already heard about the results of the tests we have held, but we adhered to certain restrictions imposed on us by the INF Treaty", the president said. Russian Federation denied the allegations and accused the United States of violating the pact through its missile defense installations in Europe - accusations the State Department refuted.

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