Russia Missile Tests Raise Questions

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 25, 2013, 1:02 p.m.

The U.S. State De­part­ment is re­fut­ing an as­ser­tion in a Wash­ing­ton Free Beacon re­port that Rus­sia may be in vi­ol­a­tion of the 1987 In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nuc­le­ar Forces Treaty with its re­cent tests of sev­er­al new bal­list­ic mis­siles.

On Oct. 10, Rus­sia test-fired its SS-25 in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­sile to a dis­tance less than 2,000 miles. Mo­scow de­clared the goal of the tri­al was to de­vel­op a new “com­bat pay­load,” the Beacon re­por­ted.

The Beacon stated the test flight of the long-range in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­sile “ap­pears to be” a cir­cum­ven­tion of the nuc­le­ar-mis­sile ac­cord. Still, in­de­pend­ent is­sue ex­perts and U.S. of­fi­cials in­ter­viewed by the pub­lic­a­tion offered dif­fer­ent views over wheth­er Rus­sia was in vi­ol­a­tion or not.

A State De­part­ment of­fi­cial told the Beacon: “The test of a Rus­si­an RS-12M To­pol ICBM on Oct. 10, which was an­nounced in the Rus­si­an press, was con­duc­ted con­sist­ent with the re­quire­ments of the New START treaty and was not sub­ject to any pro­vi­sions or re­stric­tions un­der the INF Treaty.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ic­an Sci­ent­ists, un­der the INF Treaty Rus­sia and the United States agreed to give up all of their nuc­le­ar-tipped ground-launched cruise and bal­list­ic mis­siles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

The SS-25 is known as the RS-12M in Rus­sia.

Rus­sia on three oc­ca­sions also has tested its fifth-gen­er­a­tion RS-26 long-range mis­sile to a dis­tance short­er than ICBM-flight cap­ab­il­ity. The road-mo­bile RS-26 is also known as the Yars M.

NOTE: This art­icle was up­dated at 5 p.m. on Fri­day, Oct. 25.

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