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U.S. Cruise Missile Test Was Message Aimed at Russia

Aug. 21, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Aug. 18 U.S. test launch of a Tomahawk cruise missile out of a ground-based MK 41 vertical launcher is being seen by a number of U.S.-based expert commentators as a direct message to Moscow, that the U.S. is moving quickly to create a capability that was previously prohibited by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and that it could conceivably include placing cruise missiles in the missile defense installations in Poland and Romania.

Arms control experts Hans Kristensen and his colleague Matt Korda, writing in the Federation of American Scientists’ Strategic Security blog yesterday, argue that the launch represents a reverse of U.S. security policy “which for 32 years sought to curtail such weapons and instead ... makes the United States needlessly complicit in the INF Treaty’s demise and frees Russia from both the responsibility and pressure to return to compliance.” They write that as long ago as March, Pentagon officials announced that the DOD would be testing two ground-launched missiles following the Aug. 2 end of the INF Treaty: a ground-launched Tomahawk in August and a ground-launched ballistic missile in November.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in remarking on the U.S. cruise missile test yesterday during a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchvey from Ghana, said:

“We learned about [the U.S. missiles] in October last year, when John Bolton came for a visit, and he told us ... that statements by Trump about the need to withdraw from the treaty were not an invitation for a dialogue, it was the final decision. Apparently back then, or maybe even earlier, they began preparations for the launches that have taken place and that violate parameters of the INF Treaty,”

reported TASS.

Russia’s Acting Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy told TASS this morning that Russia and China had asked for a UN Security Council session on U.S. statements regarding ground-based missiles and that this session will be held on Aug. 22.

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