US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has posted a video of a recent test of the INF Treaty-banned US ground-based missile on his Twitter page where he also noted that it had taken less than nine months, instead of the usual two years, to go from concept to launch of the projectile.
Esper claimed that work on the missile’s test-launch began after Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty earlier this year.
His remarks came as the Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that the test proves that the US has long aimed at destroying the IMF Treaty.
Today, @usairforce @30thSpaceWing & @DoDCTO Strategic Capabilities Office successfully tested a prototype conventional, ground-launched ballistic missile. Congrats to the joint gov’t-industry team for going from concept to launch in less than 9 months! pic.twitter.com/PiZw8xXDoY
— Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper (@EsperDoD) December 12, 2019
“We have repeatedly said that the United States has long been preparing for violating the INF provisions. This is a speaking proof of the fact that the deal was in fact destroyed at the US initiative, which is regrettable for us,” Peskov told reporters on Friday.
Vladimir Yermakov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, in turn said that Moscow is “worried” about the test and that Russia “will certainly take this into consideration.”
The statements were echoed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Hua Chunying recalling that since August 2, 2019 when the US announced withdrawing from the INF Treaty, the Pentagon has already carried out two tests of ground-based missiles.
“This substantiates once again our previous estimates that the US has reasoned out withdrawing from the INF well in advance,” Hua said on Friday.