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Iran Press TV

Russia's new missile keeps INF dispute with US hot

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 23, 2019 04:53PM

Russia has refuted the US claim that its new missile is violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), releasing the specifications of the missile for the first time since Washington threatened to withdraw from the Cold War-era nuclear arms control treaty.

Chief of missile and artillery troops Major General Mikhail Matveevsky said at a briefing that the maximum range of the 9M729 missile is 480 kilometers (300 miles), which is allowed under the agreement that bans missiles with a range more than 500 kilometers.

"The distance was confirmed during strategic command and staff exercises" in 2017, Matveevsky told an audience of reporters and military attaches at the military Patriot Park outside Moscow on Wednesday.

He noted that Moscow was releasing details of the cruise missile system in the interests of "voluntary transparency."

"The treaty must be preserved. It is for the American side to make the choice," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at the briefing.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF, which was signed towards the end of Cold War in 1987 by then President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The treaty, seen as a milestone in ending the Cold War arms race between the two superpowers, banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers and led to the elimination of nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles.

On December 4, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will withdraw from the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not dismantle the missiles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Moscow will be forced to respond if the US withdraws from the treaty, saying that Russia will develop missiles currently banned under the agreement if Washington makes good on its threats.

The European Union has called for the full implementation of the treaty. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini last month pleaded for the treaty to be saved, warning that Europe did not want to become a battlefield for global powers once again, as it was during the Cold War.

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