Russia Deploying Additional 9M729 Missiles as US About to Leave INF – Report

© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich / Go to the photo bankDemonstration of rocket 9M729 for military attaches
Demonstration of rocket 9M729 for military attaches - Sputnik International
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Washington claims that Russia has tested the 9M729 missile at ranges that violate the conditions of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, citing an intelligence report, but has failed to present evidence proving that this is the case. Russia denies the accusations and has its own questions regarding the US’ adherence to the accord.

Russia has expanded the number of its 9M729 missile battalions from three to four in recent months, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an anonymous US official allegedly familiar with the intelligence documents. The alleged missile build-up is taking place as Washington raises questions about the 9M729, which, it claims, violates the INF Treaty. No US officials have commented on the report yet.

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land attack missile Saturday, April 14, 2018, as part of the military response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons on April 7. - Sputnik International
Moscow: No Evidence of INF Violations as US Suspends Obligations Under Treaty

The report comes ahead of the announced American withdrawal from the missile accord that will take place on 2 February 2019. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave Russia six months to "return to compliance" with the treaty, before Washington completes the withdrawal process.

Washington claims that Moscow has violated the accord by developing the 9M729 (NATO reporting name SSC-8) missiles and testing them at ranges banned by the agreement. Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations, arguing that the 9M729 missile does not violate the accord. After being repeatedly accused of a "lack of transparency" in regards to the missile in question, Moscow held a briefing to present the missile and clarify its characteristics.

READ MORE: Moscow: Russian Hypersonic Weapons Eliminate Threat From US Exit From INF Treaty

During the briefing, the Russian Defence Ministry revealed that the 9M729 has a maximum range of 480km, which is 10km shorter than its predecessor, meaning that it is in line with the INF Treaty. However, representatives of the US, UK, France, Germany, the EU and NATO did not attend the ministry's briefing on the missile.

The INF Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the US in 1987, and provides for the elimination of all nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, along with their launchers, that operate at ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

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