Pentagon confirmed the testing of a ground-based intermediate-range ballistic missile (GLCM). The missile was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California on Thursday. The testing was previously banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty which the US exited earlier this year.
The conventionally configured test missile flew for over 500 kilometres and landed in the Pacific. This is the second test after the August one of a cruise missile which happened immediately after the INF treaty expired after the US exited the treaty. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had discussed with the US on Tuesday an extension of the New START nuclear reduction treaty.
The Second Test is seen as a success
The second test was conducted around 8:30 am Pacific time in the Californian base. The INF treaty of 1987 was signed at the height of the Cold War. It was a ban on the US and the then Soviet Union from using intermediate-range missiles of range 500-5,500 kilometres.
Moscow has denied the accusations by the US of holding intermediate-range ballistic missiles called the Novator 9M729 missile, a weapon NATO refers to as SSC-8. The Trump administration also said that the treaty was a relic of the Cold War era. In August the US formally withdrew from the treaty. The US conducted a test soon after its exit in August.
The treaty prohibited the countries from developing, testing and fielding of the GLCM. The INF treaty was not applied to many countries that possess the missiles with the same range including China who is noted to hold the same capabilities.
Rising concerns from Russia
According to the RIA news agency, Russia was alarmed after the United States tested a ground-launched ballistic missile that would have been banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
The only existing arms treaty between the US and Russia is the New START, which ends in the year 2021. There has been no formal discussion with regard to this. Russia has warned that there is already not enough time left for the negotiation.