[Ed. – Stick a fork in the INF Treaty. Good idea while it lasted.]
The March 18 flight test of a new RS-26 missile is part of a large-scale nuclear arms buildup by Russia and is raising concerns about treaty compliance, said U.S. officials familiar with details of the missile test.
The RS-26 missile carried a dummy warhead from Russia’s Kapustin Yar missile facility, located about 80 miles south of Volgograd in southern Russia, to an impact range at Sary Shagan in Kazakhstan.
The distance between the launch facility and the impact area is approximately 1,248 miles, far less than the threshold of 3,417 miles required by the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
It is at least the fifth time in the past five years the Russians have conducted flight tests of the RS-26 to ranges prohibited under the INF treaty. An Oct. 10, 2013 flight test also traveled less than 2,000 miles. …
[T]he National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) in 2013 categorized the RS-26 as a missile banned under the INF treaty that is being disguised as an ICBM.
“The intelligence community believes it’s an intermediate-range missile that [the Russians] have classified as an ICBM because it would violate the INF treaty” if its true characteristics were known, a U.S. official familiar with the NASIC assessment told the Free Beacon at the time.