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US Planning to Test Missiles Banned by INF Treaty - Report

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By Staff, Agencies

The United States plans to test two missile systems banned under Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty, which the US announced its decision to withdraw from, later this year, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The test is scheduled for when Washington completes its Treaty withdrawal procedure. Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced its decision to resume manufacturing parts for missiles that violate the treaty.

In further details, a new cruise missile is scheduled to be tested in August, while a longer-range ballistic missile will be tested later in November, unnamed defense officials told reporters.

Under the INF treaty, all missiles with range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers are banned. The new cruise missile is supposed to have a range of 1,000 kilometers, while the ballistic missile will have a range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers, the officials said.

Neither of the two missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads, they said. This corresponds to Pentagon's earlier statement, in which the Department said its missile efforts are "conventional only — not nuclear."

During the Pentagon's budget rollout Tuesday, officials dodged questions about funding for INF-noncompliant systems, with acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker saying only that "our budget is, right now, INF-compliant," The Hill report says.

US President Donald Trump announced last month his country would unilaterally withdraw from the treaty, pointing towards Russian 9M729 cruise missile, which American officials claim violates the treaty limitations.

Russia repeatedly denied the allegations that the missile violates the 1987 treaty, pointing out that American missile systems deployed in Europe can be repurposed for offensive and therefore are themselves in violation of the treaty.

Moscow responded to Trump's decision to withdraw by suspending its own participation.

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