Russia accuses U.S. of stoking tensions with missile test
Updated 18:17, 20-Aug-2019

Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of stoking military tensions by testing a ground-launched cruise missile, but said it would not be drawn into an arms race, TASS news agency reported.

The Pentagon said on Monday that it tested a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile with a range of more than 500 kilometers, the first such test since the United States pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

The United States formally withdrew from INF with Russia on August 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.

"All this elicits regret, the United States has obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions. We will not succumb to provocations," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

"We won't allow ourselves to be pulled into a costly arms race," he said.

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.

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

China also expressed concern. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday the test showed the U.S. was stoking a new arms race and confrontation, which would have a serious negative impact on regional and global security.

"We advise the U.S. side to abandon outdated notions of Cold War thinking and zero sum games, and exercise restraint in developing arms," Geng told a daily news briefing.

Source(s): Reuters