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US ‘escalating military tensions’ – says Russia

Russia has accused the US of stoking military tensions by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.

The TASS News Agency however reported Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Tuesday that Moscow would not be drawn into an arms race.

On Monday, the US defence department had said it tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 kilometres of flight.

The test is Washington’s first such launch since the demise of a landmark Cold War-era nuclear pact this month.

The US formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia on August 2 after accusing Moscow of violating the pact.

The US missile test would have been prohibited under the treaty.

“The United States has obviously taken the course of escalating military tensions. We will not succumb to provocations,” Mr. Ryabkov said.

He said despite the test, Russia did not plan to deploy any new missiles, unless the US did so first.

Condemning the test, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said it showed Washington was stoking a new arms race and confrontation, which would have a serious negative impact on regional and global security.

Under the INF treaty, land-based missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometreswere banned. It reduced the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.

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