Russia Slams US Accusations Over Abidance by Nuclear Testing Moratorium

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States believes that Russia may not be adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium, Defece Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley said on Wednesday.

Washington is trying to divert attention from its own destructive policy on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by accusing Russia of violating the moratorium on nuclear tests, Russia's Permanent Representative to International Organisations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov told Sputnik.

"It looks more like a smoke screen and an attempt to divert attention from the destructive line of the United States regarding the CTBT", Ulyanov said.

He said the US is keeping its nuclear testing sites ready for possible resumption of nuclear tests.

The statement came as response to the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley earlier comment.

"The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the ‘zero-yield’ standard", Ashley said during a discussion at the Hudson Institute in Washington.

Earlier this year, CNN reported that US President Donald Trump was eyeing a grand nuclear deal with Russian and China. 

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Trump announced in February that the US would unilaterally withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, pointing towards Russia's 9M729 cruise missile, which American officials claim violates the existing limitations.

Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations that the missile violates the 1987 accord.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently stated that the collapse of the INF Treaty casts a shadow over the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty's (New START) extension.

The New START Treaty entered into force on 5 February 2011. It has a 10-year duration with an option to extend it for no more than five years.

READ MORE: Russian Foreign Ministry Warns of US Preparing to Use Nuclear Weapons in Europe

The aggregate limits of the treaty restrict the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each. The treaty also includes an aggregate limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. Within that limit, the number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers cannot exceed 700.

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