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By Russ Read
Russia’s secret deployment of a new cruise missile may constitute a violation of a crucial arms control agreement dating back to the Cold War, Trump administration officials told the New York Times Tuesday.
The weapon in question is known as the SSC-8, an intermediate-range, ground-based cruise missile which was banned from deployment in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The officials claimed that the Russians now have two SSC-8 battalions, one at the Kapustin Yar missile test site in southeast Russia and another which was sent to an operational base elsewhere in the country.
The Obama administration expressed its concern over the test of the missile, then known as the SSC-X-8, in 2014. It attempted to dissuade Russia from moving ahead with the missile while it was still being tested, but those efforts appear to have been for naught.
The SSC-8 is estimated to have a range between 300 and 3,400 miles. The 1987 treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, specifically bans the testing and deployment of such missiles. At the time, the treaty was considered an important step towards the end of the Cold War.
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