President Donald Trump's administration has pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that was signed by then-President Ronald Reagan and then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
"The United States will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russia", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement about the USA withdrawal.
Washington announced past year it was withdrawing from the pact, accusing Russian Federation of failing to comply with it. Moscow denies it has violated the treaty with its new 9M729 system and says Washington is withdrawing to pursue a new arms race.
The U.S. blamed Moscow for the death of the treaty.
A senior administration official told reporters that the USA will be testing the cruise missiles that were forbidden by the INF treaty because "Russia can not maintain military advantage" but said that it will take years for the U.S. to deploy those weapons.
"Russia is exclusively responsible for the treaty's demise". The U.S.is planning a test flight of such a weapon in coming weeks, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the weapons development and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Russian President Vladimir Putin a month ago signed legislation suspending his country's participation in the treaty, five months after the Trump administration made a similar move.
Pompeo, in a statement, added the United States "will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russian Federation".
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"Russia would like to do something on a nuclear treaty and that's OK with me".
Washington has already announced that it is prepared to "pursue development of ground-based, conventional, intermediate-range missile systems", Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told the US Senate in written responses to questions.
In particular, US officials seemed to hope Russian Federation will help the USA pressure China, itself with a growing arsenal, to join arms-control pacts that the two Cold War-era enemies were party to. They'd like to do something and so would I'.
Meanwhile, analysts fear the U.S. test of the non-nuclear cruise missile will mark the start of a new arms race with Moscow. "We have suggested to the USA and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members to consider announcing a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate-range missiles", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the state-owned TASS news agency on Friday.
"Their contempt for the rules-based worldwide system threatens European security", British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter.
The Trump administration casts the forthcoming testing of these missiles as necessary to United States national security, seeking to tamp down any suggestion that the U.S. is triggering an arms race. "Nuclear powers such as China must also face up to their responsibility on arms control - they have more weight in the world than at the time of the Cold War".
Within the next few weeks, the United States is expected to test a ground-launched cruise missile.
The Pentagon also sees a benefit in developing the new weapons as a counter to China, which boasts an increasingly sophisticated land-based missile force. Its estimated range is 1,600 miles. "And we've tried to work with them over the years to get them back into compliance, but it's been to no good end".