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Russia Tests Trump With Treaty-Violating Missile Deployment

16 February 2017

Russia has deployed a new cruise missile apparently violating an arms control treaty banning ground-based US and Russian intermediate-range missiles.

Three years ago the Obama administration had accused the Russian government of violating this Cold War-era arms treaty by testing a cruise missile, capable of carrying nuclear tips, which the treaty clearly forbade.

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. "I've said before we need to set firm boundaries for Russia's behavior - and enforce them to the hilt".

The alleged treaty violation may arise when U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attends his first NATO meeting in Brussels on February 15.

Shortly before his eight years as president came to a close, Barack Obama imposed new sanctions on Russian Federation and expelled 35 diplomats over the country's interference in the US presidential election, according to administration officials and reports from the intelligence community.

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.

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The missile deployment - and the lack of immediate response from the White House - showcases how the understaffed and embattled new administration is ill-prepared to face security threats, experts and officials say.

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

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.

"In light of the most recent developments, it is time for the new administration to take immediate action to enhance our deterrent posture in Europe and protect our allies", Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement. One is at a missile test site at Kapustin Yar and one was moved in December from the test site to an operational base elsewhere in the country.

The move came despite US complaints that Moscow was violating sections of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.