Russian Federation 'has deployed missile in violation of treaty'

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Meanwhile, a United States defense official told CNN that the Russian spy ship, the SSV-175 Viktor Leonov, is sailing in global waters off the coast of Delaware. "More broadly, we must continue the ongoing modernization of USA nuclear forces and ensure that NATO's nuclear deterrence forces are survivable, well-exercised, and increasingly ready to counter Russian nuclear doctrine, which calls for the first use of nuclear weapons".

The INF deal, signed in December 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is accredited with significantly reducing the threat of nuclear confrontation and accelerating the end of the Cold War.

Despite the USA intelligence reports that Russian Federation intervened in the United States presidential election with hacking activities, Trump has vowed to improve ties with Moscow so that they could cooperate on fighting terrorism.

The Kremlin's moves come the day after Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign after failing to fully disclose conversations he had with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. concerning USA sanctions while he was not yet in office. Trump was informed Flynn had misled Pence but the president kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited almost three weeks before ousting the aide. The situation reached "critical mass" last night, he said.

Almost 100 days after he won the presidency, Trump still hasn't named picks to top administration postings that would be first responders for any number of crises, including Russian arms treaty violations.

Trump himself, though, repeatedly praised Putin on the campaign trail as well as since being elected, while offering few if any criticisms.

Asked by Fox News's Bill O'Reilly earlier this month if he respects Putin, Trump said, "I do respect him, but I respect a lot of people".

"But, [Putin] is a killer", O'Reilly said.

"What, do you think, our country's so innocent?"
"Our country's so innocent?"

Little is known about the SSC-8, but according to Lewis, the missile is probably a ground-based version of the Russians' Kalibr cruise missile.

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The Russian spy ship Vicktor Leonov had made a port call in Cuba prior to moving north, where it has been monitored off the coast of Delaware Tuesday, the official told the AP.

"It has not entered USA territorial waters". Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson told FP the military is "aware of the vessel's presence", and noted it had not entered US territorial waters.

This makes the treaty a possible topic for discussion by Jim Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, in his upcoming NATO meeting, since it has stirred restlessness in the white house with its potential damage to US-Russian relations.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that "compliance with arms control agreements is of great importance and especially when it comes to treaties covering nuclear weapons".

The deployment has stirred concern in Congress, where Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain called it a "significant military threat to USA forces in Europe and our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies".

The New York Times report says the Obama administration sought to persuade the Russians to stop while the missile was still in the test phase, but instead the Russians moved ahead and deployed a fully operational unit. According to the Tuesday report in the New York Times, the Russian have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile.

The State Department wouldn't confirm the report.

The deal eliminated the production and possession of nuclear and conventional ground-launched intermediate-ranged ballistic and cruise missiles.

The missiles are nuclear-capable, said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, dealing a hefty symbolic blow to nonproliferation efforts. It also did not clarify when the cruise missiles were actually deployed.

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