- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2019

The U.S. military on Sunday tested an “intermediate-range” cruise missile in California — a launch that would’ve been illegal just three weeks ago.

The test at California’s San Nicolas Island on Sunday afternoon would have violated the longstanding Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War-era pact that limited the U.S. and Russian arsenals. The INF agreement prohibited both nations from developing missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles.

In a Monday press release confirming the weekend test, the Pentagon explicitly said that the missile would’ve broken the terms of the INF.

“The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight,” the Defense Department said in a statement. “Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”

The Pentagon did not release further detail on the missile.

In the run-up to the U.S. withdrawal earlier this month, the Trump administration accused Russia of violating the terms of the INF. NATO and other international bodies also have said that Moscow has produced weapons that break the agreement.

Military analysts also have cast the INF as outdated because it doesn’t apply to China, which has a growing arsenal of midrange weapons.

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