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Russia Missile Tests Raise Questions

The U.S. State Department is refuting an assertion in a Washington Free Beacon report on Thursday that Russia may be in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with its recent tests of several new ballistic missiles.

On Oct. 10, Russia test-fired its SS-25 intercontinental ballistic missile to a distance less than 2,000 miles. Moscow declared the goal of the trial was to develop a new "combat payload," the Beacon reported.

The Beacon stated the test flight of the long-range intercontinental ballistic missile "appears to be" a circumvention of the nuclear-missile accord. Still, independent issue experts and U.S. officials interviewed by the publication offered different views over whether Russia was in violation or not.

A State Department official told the Beacon: "The test of a Russian RS-12M Topol ICBM on Oct. 10, which was announced in the Russian press, was conducted consistent with the requirements of the New START treaty and was not subject to any provisions or restrictions under the INF Treaty."

According to the Federation of American Scientists, under the INF Treaty Russia and the United States agreed to give up all of their nuclear-tipped ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.

The SS-25 is known as the RS-12M in Russia.

Russia on three occasions also has tested its fifth-generation RS-26 long-range missile to a distance shorter than ICBM-flight capability. The road-mobile RS-26 is also known as the Yars M.

NOTE: This article was updated at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25.

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