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US Successfully Tests Medium-range Cruise Missile

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The United States successfully tested a medium-range cruise missile after pulling out of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia. The cold war era treaty was a deterrent among the world's two super powers from proliferating such nuclear-capable weapons.

The Trump administration withdrew from the treaty on August 2 accusing Russia of violating it. But Russia denied the charge.

The INF treaty, signed between US President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, restricted both the countries from developing land-based missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 kilometres.

The missile that the Department of Defense fired on Sunday hit its target after flying more than 500 kilometers, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The flight test of a "conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile" was conducted at San Nicolas Island, California.

"The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight".

Data collected and lessons learned from this test will be used for the development of future intermediate-range capabilities, the statement added.

Washington was able to conduct this test, which is feared to rekindle a new arms race, because it pulled out of the compliant agreement.

Russia responded to the development by accusing the United States of igniting military tensions, but said it would not be drawn into an arms race.

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

The United States tested the medium-range cruise missile a week after a top U.S. defense official warned that rival countries are developing hypersonic weapons that are capable of breaking through its missile defense system.

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