Earlier this week the Pentagon said they had tested the first ground-launched cruise missile since the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia August 2nd. The United States withdrew from the landmark 1987 Treaty due to Russian noncompliance, which ended a Cold War-era arms agreement which limited ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles to ranges of 310 and 3,400 miles.
The ‘Tomahawk variant’ was tested on Sunday off the coast of Los Angeles and determined “a success.” The Pentagon released a statement saying “the test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers [310 miles] of flight.”
In response, today Putin orders “threat analysis and reciprocal response.” Reuters reports that “Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered a like-for-like response to a recent U.S. missile test, which he said showed that Washington aimed to deploy previously banned missiles around the world.”
Earlier this week Putin complained that the United States is “now in a position to deploy its new land-based missile in Romania and Poland.” Today Putin told his Security Council that Russia could not “stand idly by” and U.S. discussions of new missiles in the Asia-Pacific region “affects our core interests as it is close to Russia’s borders.”
Despite Putin’s response, he maintains Russia remains open to talks with the United States. However, his rhetoric is pointed: “all this leaves no doubts that the real intention of the United States (in exiting the INF pact) was to…untie its hands to deploy previously banned missiles in different regions of the world.”