US Likely to Test its Ground-launched Cruise Missile this Year

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

According to ANI news reports, the US and Russian Federation relations have become icy since last year's October when US President Donald Trump has alleged Moscow of violating the INF pact and threatened to withdraw from the pact with Moscow.

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.

The official said the United States was also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November, adding that both would be conventional and not nuclear.

Signed in 1987 by then US President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev, the INF Treaty was widely viewed as a breakthrough in arms control. Neither would be nuclear armed, the officials said, though with no treaty to abide by, there would be little holding them back from embracing a return to a Cold War-style arms race. 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 missile can be deployed within 18 months.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko earlier said Ukraine was no more bound by any restrictions regarding the missile range after Russia's withdrawal from the INF Treaty.

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

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The officials, who spoke to a small group of reporters under Pentagon ground rules that did not permit use of their names or titles, said one project is a low-flying cruise missile with a potential range of about 1,000 kilometers; the other would be a ballistic missile with a range of roughly 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers.

"We haven't engaged any of our allies about forward deployment".

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

The United States used systems that "de facto were in violation of the basic provisions of the INF Treaty", Peskov stressed.

"It's a brand new missile", the senior defense official said. The ballistic missile, however, is likely to take longer.

The senior defense official said the Pentagon would stand down with the tests if Russian Federation were to come back into compliance and the treaty survived. 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. NATO is now studying the implications of the demise of the INF treaty and possible military responses.

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