Published: Fri, August 23, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

UN Security Council divided over USA missile test

UN Security Council divided over USA missile test

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Defense Ministry and other bodies to "study the level of threat posed by these USA actions and take exhaustive measures to prepare a symmetrical response".

On Monday, the Pentagon said it tested a conventionally configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500km of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.

Earlier this month, the USA officially pulled out the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of between 300 and 3,400 miles. Speaking Friday, Putin charged that the USA wanted to "untie its hands to deploy the previously banned missiles in different parts of the world".

Putin said that he had instructed his foreign and defense ministries to "study the level of threat posed by these U.S. actions and take exhaustive measures to prepare a symmetrical response".

Putin has previously pledged that Russian Federation wouldn't deploy the missiles previously banned by the INF Treaty to any area before the USA does that first, but he noted Friday that the use of the universal launcher means that a covert deployment is possible.

He said Moscow was against placement of the launchers in Poland and Romania as part of a missile defence system, but the USA denied they could be used offensively to launch Tomahawks.

Speaking at a government meeting, Putin said the launch of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk missile with a MK-41 launcher confirmed prior suspicions that the United States had planned to place banned weapons in Europe. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform DOD's development of future intermediate-range capabilities.

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Russian Federation long has charged that the US launchers loaded with missile defense interceptors could be used for firing surface-to-surface missiles. He earlier promised not to deploy new missiles in world regions until the USA does the same.

"Now the fact of the violation is clear, and it's useless to deny it", Putin said. Now, one "cannot deny" a breach of the now defunct treaty, he added.

Putin said Moscow "is still open to equal and constructive dialogue" with the USA to discuss global security.

Previously Washington and NATO have accused Moscow of developing the new 9M729 missile which they say violates the treaty, but Russian Federation says its range falls short of 500 kilometres.

"We have never wanted, do not want and will not be drawn into a costly, economically destructive arms race".

Russian Federation said earlier this month, following the demise of the INF treaty, that it would only deploy new intermediate-range missiles if the USA does.

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