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02:27 PM, September 28, 2015
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Kh-55, air-launched strategic cruise missile

Russia has test fired a new ground-launched SSC-X-8 cruise missile this month, which an anonymous Obama administration official has claimed is a violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Russia launched the missile on Sept. 2. The cruise missile did not fly beyond the 300-mile range limit for an INF-banned missile, Obama administration defense and security officials were quoted as saying by Washington Free Beacon today.

The missile’s assessed range is between 300 miles and 3,400 miles. It is the distance covered under the INF treaty, which banned an entire class of intermediate-range missiles, the US intelligence analysts reported.

SSC-X-8 test is as a “nuclear profile,” that means the weapon is part of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, the officials added.

The 1987 missile flight test prompted the US administration, which was backed by US intelligence agencies, to declare the system a breach of the INF treaty.

Following the President Obama’s meet in New York with Vladimir Putin, the first unofficial identification of the suspect missile was disclosed.

Discussion between the two presidents on Monday are expected to focus on increasing Russian military operations in Syria and Ukraine. White House officials would not say whether the president would raise the SSC-X-8 flight test and other INF noncompliance issues with Putin on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting.

The cruise missile test is the latest sign from Moscow that it has no plans to return to compliance with the INF treaty despite US efforts in talks held since May 2013.

“It is time for the White House to get out of the way of the Defense Department so that it can field military responses to this treaty violation,” Rogers said.

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