Russia accuses US of ‘escalating military tensions’ with missile test

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Russia on Tuesday accused the United States of escalating military tensions by testing a missile that was restricted by a treaty until last month, Reuters reports.

Washington has “obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

He added that Russia would not let itself “be pulled into a costly arms race” and did not plan to deploy new missiles unless the United States did so first.

{mosads}The Pentagon on Monday tested a nonnuclear cruise missile that was banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. President Trump, though, withdrew from the treaty this month.

The decades-old arms pact with Russia, which was credited with helping end the Cold War, had banned nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

The U.S. announced it would pull out of the treaty earlier this year, accusing Russia of violating the treaty, a claim Moscow denies.

Russia said Tuesday that the Pentagon’s test proved the U.S. had already been preparing to leave the pact.

“It is simply not possible to prepare for such tests in a few weeks or a few months. This … shows that it was not Russia, but the United States with its actions that brought the breakdown of the INF,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, per Reuters.

The Pentagon had announced in 2017 that it was beginning treaty compliant research and development into the missile, and earlier this year said it would test it after formally leaving the treaty.

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