US test-fires cruise missile after INF treaty pullout | News | DW | 19.08.2019
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US test-fires cruise missile after INF treaty pullout

The Pentagon says it has tested a ground-launched cruise missile just weeks after exiting the INF treaty. The missile would have been banned under the bilateral agreement with Russia.

The US Defense Department said on Monday that it had tested a medium-range ground-launched cruise missile off the western coast over the weekend, the first such test since Washington tore up a Cold War-era pact banning this type of potentially nuclear-capable weapon.

"The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) of flight," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The US formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia earlier this month after accusing Moscow of violating the agreement, something the Kremlin has denied.

Pentagon officials had already said back in March that they would carry out a missile test once the treaty was no longer in force.

The Pentagon statement said the test took place on San Nicolas Island in California.

Read more: What is the INF nuclear treaty? 

Undermined confidence

The INF treaty banned both countries from possessing, producing or conducting test flights of ground-launched cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,420 miles).

The agreement, signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, served to boost global security at the end of the Cold War. It remained in force after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The treaty's collapse has, among other things, undermined confidence in any arms control and nonproliferation pacts.

Read more: Russia's nuclear-powered cruise missile, fact or fiction?

Watch video 02:29

US and Russia trade blame for ending INF arms treaty

tj/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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