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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Weapon Test Is Violation Of ABM Treaty, Moscow Says

Russia said Tuesday the United States had violated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and undermined arms control efforts by testing a "kill vehicle" designed to destroy long-range strategic weapons.

Washington said Sunday it had successfully completed the first test of a prototype weapon over the Pacific Ocean that could lay the groundwork for a national missile defense system.

In the test, the "kill vehicle" was launched from the Marshall Islands. It intercepted and destroyed a modified Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile fired from California. The launch sites were 6,900 kilometers apart.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said the test ran against the grain of the 1972 ABM treaty, which limits the systems Russia and the United States can deploy to ward off enemy missiles.

"Such actions by the U.S. side effectively lead to the undermining of key provisions in the treaty with all the negative consequences which that entails. Responsibility for this lies with the United States," he said at a news briefing.

He said the test threatened the global arms control system including the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, gave an even tougher warning.

If the new U.S. missile defense system is built, Russia may drop out of all disarmament treaties, close its borders to U.S. arms observers and begin stockpiling nuclear weapons, Yakovlev said in an interview with the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

"Russia and the United States will become unpredictable for each other," Yakovlev was quoted as saying.

"We will fully withdraw from all inspection measures and will not let anyone close to our arms. Russia will not know what is going on in the United States. Americans will not know what is going on in Russia."

Moscow staunchly opposes U.S. plans to amend the ABM treaty so it can build a limited missile defense system. The defense system would also prompt other nations to develop and stockpile nuclear arms, Yakovlev said.

"The history of weapons gives reason to state: The shield is always weaker than the sword,'' Yakovlev said.