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Russia accuses US of stoking arms race with missile test – TASS

  • 20 Aug 2019

The US formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia on August 2, 2019 after accusing Moscow of violating the pact, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.

The file photo shows the launch of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California, US on August 18, 2019. ( AP )

Russia accused the US of stoking military tensions by testing a ground-launched cruise missile, but said it would not be drawn into an arms race, TASS news agency reported.

The Pentagon said on Monday it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 kilometres of flight, its first such operation since the demise of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear pact this month.

The US formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia on August 2 after accusing Moscow of violating the pact, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.

The US missile test would have been prohibited under the treaty.

"All this elicits regret, the US has obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions. We will not succumb to provocations," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

"We won't allow ourselves to be pulled into a costly arms race."

The INF banned land-based missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

Ryabkov said that despite the test, Russia did not plan to deploy any new missiles, unless the United States did so first.

China also expressed concern.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the test showed the US was stoking a new arms race and confrontation, which would have a serious negative impact on regional and global security.

"We advise the US side to abandon outdated notions of Cold War thinking and zero-sum games, and exercise restraint in developing arms," Geng told a daily news briefing.

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