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Russia Suspends INF in Response to U.S. Withdrawal

Russia Suspends INF in Response to U.S. Withdrawal

Russian Federation has said it will develop a new hypersonic missile and a land-based version of an existing cruise missile by 2021 following the demise of a key nuclear arms control treaty with the US. Washington has so far not provided a single shred of evidence to prove that Russia had violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Russian-Tajik Slavonic University on Tuesday.

In Congress, Democratic members of the House and Senate have introduced legislation to prevent the first use of nuclear weapons, prohibit the U.S. President from having sole authority to launch nuclear weapons first, to prevent deployment of Trump's new "low-yield" submarine-launched nuclear warhead, and refuse funding for development of intermediate-range missiles that were prohibited under the INF Treaty.

Russia has long denied allegations from the US and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that a new missile in the Russian arsenal, the SSC-8, violates the terms of the INF for having a maximum range greater than 310 miles.

For its part, the U.S. of Donald Trump has stoked Russian anxieties over American intentions by withdrawing from a number of multilateral accords - including the Iran nuclear deal - pursuing superiority in sea- and air-launched missile systems, and talking up development of a new ground-launched cruise missile.

The defence minister said the plans had been approved by Putin. "We also must create a ground-launched long-range hypersonic missile system within the same period of time". However, as the United States moves toward a more unilateral posture, those treaties are being discarded as relics of a bygone era.The latest example is the de facto end of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

The Russian leader said that Moscow remains open to talks with Washington, but added that it would be up to the U.S. to take the first step.

"China is opposed to the U.S. withdrawal and urges the USA and Russian Federation to properly resolve differences through constructive dialogue", Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement. Jeff Merkley's Prevention of Arms Race Act (S. 312), which would cut off funding for unilateral US development of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear weapons which had been banned under the INF. "Let's wait until our partners are mature enough to conduct an equal and substantive dialogue on those issues", he said.

Both countries have accused each other of violating the INF arms control agreement concluded between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union in 1987. The drone is created to carry a heavy nuclear weapon that could cause a devastating tsunami wave.

"Pulling out of the INF Treaty was an unconscionable and reckless act on the part of the Trump administration", said Patrick O'Neill, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven.

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No country has to date deployed a cruise missile using an on-board nuclear reactor, largely given the engineering challenges and safety concerns involved. He said the military must reconfigure the existing defence budget to find money for the new weapons.

"There is a real and present danger that [Trump's withdrawal] will provoke a renewed nuclear arms race and brings us closer to nuclear war", Martha Hennessy, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven, added.

President Trump has chosen to surround himself with risky advisors who, in defiance of President Reagan's vision, choose to put all humanity at risk by pursuing a perpetual nuclear arms race.

France is also concerned over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and Iran's ballistic missile capabilities.

According to the diplomat, the mirror response is not the most effective in this regard, because it works for the American strategy.

This is a developing story, more to follow.

The treaties on missile defense and nuclear deterrence negotiated between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War avoided escalation and kept that war relatively "cold".

Earlier last week U.S. intelligence officials called attention to efforts by China and Russian Federation to expand their global influence, particularly in Asia and the Middle East.


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