Russia accuses US of stoking military tensions

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Russia on Tuesday criticised the U.S. for ramping up military tensions by testing a ground-launched, medium-range cruise missile weeks after withdrawing from the INF pact with Moscow.

Moscow said the U.S. was stoking military tensions by testing the missile after Washington tore up a Cold War-era pact banning this type of potentially nuclear-capable weapon.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agency TASS “all this elicits regret. The U.S. has obviously taken a course toward escalating military tensions and we will not succumb to provocations.’’

The minister stressed that Moscow would stick to a unilateral moratorium on such missile systems.

Ryabkov said that despite the test, Russia did not plan to deploy any new missiles, unless the U.S. did so first.

The Pentagon on Monday said it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight.

It added that it was the first of such operation since the demise of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear pact this month.

The U.S. formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia on Aug. 2 after accusing Moscow of violating the pact, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.

The U.S. missile test would have been prohibited under the treaty.

The INF banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500 and 5,500 km), reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

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