The U.S. Tested a New Ground-Based Cruise Missile, Russia Saw a Conspiracy

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW, (BM) – The United States has tested a new ground-based cruise missile that is capable covering 500 kilometers in range, less than three weeks after officially exiting an arms treaty that banned such systems, learned, quoting Defense News and TASS.

Read more: Russia’s Defence Ministry Suggests the U.S. Destroy the Ground-based MK 41 Launching Systems Falling Under INF Treaty

The test occurred 2:30 PM Pacific time Sunday at San Nicolas Island, California, according to a Pentagon announcement. The missile “exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight,” the release said. “Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”

The United States exited the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty Aug. 2, following through on a decision made late last year that the treaty no longer benefited American interests.

Read more: Russia to Develop Ground-Based Cruise and Hypersonic Missiles by 2020

American officials have stressed they do not plan on building a nuclear ground-based cruise missile capability, but Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has said his department will “fully pursue the development of these ground-launched conventional missiles as a prudent response to Russia’s actions and as part of the joint force’s broader portfolio of conventional strike options.”

At the same time a missile test carried out by the United States points to Washington’s pre-planned strategy to enable the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Read more: Improved Longer-Range Kalibr Cruise Missile is Under Development in Russia

“As for the United States’ test of a conventional cruise missile, the news came while President Putin and President Macron were holding talks yesterday. Putin commented on it, saying that such tests only proved that from the very start, the Americans were determined to derail the INF Treaty and were making preparations for it,” Peskov pointed out.

The Kremlin spokesman emphasized that “several weeks and even months are not enough to make preparations for such a test.” According to him, it once again shows that it was the United States and not Russia that was responsible for the collapse of the INF Treaty.

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Source: Defense News, TASS