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    US Plan to Test INF-Banned Missiles is 'Logical Continuation' of Exit - Kremlin

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    MOSCOW(Sputnik) - Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that the US prospective tests of missiles previously banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) would be a logical continuation of Washington's policy to demolish the agreement.

    "The United States, not Russia, violated the INF. It was the United States that included missile research and development on its draft budget. Therefore, it is only natural that the research will be followed by tests. These tests would be a logical continuation of the situation," Peskov said.

    READ MORE: Russia, US Could Maintain Legal INF Status Even After Treaty Ends — Scholar

    The spokesman's comment comes after Associated Press news agency reports that the United States was planning to test missiles, previously banned under the treaty, this year.

    New cruise missiles may be deployed within some 18 months, the media said, adding that the tests may yet be cancelled if Moscow and Washington find a way to save the deal.

    On 2 February, the United States formally suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty and launched the withdrawal process, which would be completed within six months unless Moscow remedies its alleged violations of the bilateral arms control deal. Moscow has repeatedly said that it is not violating the INF Treaty.

    On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow also suspended its obligations under the treaty in response to the US move. Putin has, however, stressed that all of Russia's earlier proposals remained on the table.

    The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and then-US President Ronald Reagan. The leaders agreed to destroy all cruise or ground-launched ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (310 and 3,400 miles).

    Related:

    US Senior Diplomat to Discuss INF Treaty With UK Officials in London
    US Congress Publishes Draft Bill Prohibiting to Use Funds to Violate INF Treaty
    US to Test Ground-Launched Cruise Missile Systems Once Banned by INF Treaty
    Tags:
    testing, INF Treaty, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin, United States, Russia
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