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  1. ITV Report

Russia displays new missile despite US nuclear dispute

A Russian military officer walks past the cruise missile on display with its launcher in Kubinka outside Moscow. Credit: AP

The Russian military has released the specifications of its new missile, seeking to dispel the US claim that the weapons violates a key nuclear arms pact.

The military insists the new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile (also known as the Novator 9M729) conforms to the limits of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

It comes as the US announced its intention to abandon the INF, claiming the new missile violates provisions of the pact that ban production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,400 miles).

The new missile has a maximum range of 480 kilometres. Credit: AP

Washington said it will suspend its treaty obligations if Russia does not come into compliance by February 2.

Lieutenant General Mikhail Matveevsky, the chief of the military’s missile and artillery forces, said at a meeting with foreign military attaches that the new missile has a maximum range of 480 kilometres.

He said the 9M729 missile differs from the previous 9M728 model by having a modified warhead and guidance system that enhances its capability.

The new missile has 10 kilometres less range than the older model, according to the Russian general. Credit: AP

The military then displayed the weapon along with its mobile launcher during a presentation at its exhibition centre near Moscow.

Lt Gen Matveevsky insisted the new missile’s booster, cruising engine and fuel tank remain unchanged.

He added the new missile has 10 kilometres less range than the older model due to heavier warhead and control systems.

The Kremlin has denied claims of Russian violations of the pact. Credit: Pavel Golovkin/AP

The Russian general emphasised that the new missile cannot be modified in field conditions.

Lt Gen Matveevsky said the modified mobile launcher for the new type of missile is bigger because it carries four of them rather than the previous two.

He added that the military gave the presentation to underline its "increased transparency and our adherence to the INF Treaty".

The Kremlin has staunchly denied the US claim of Russian violations of the pact.

The 9M729 land-based cruise missile. Credit: Pavel Golovkin/AP

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov noted the US has not put forward any data to prove its claim that Russia has tested the missile at a range exceeding the treaty’s limit.

He said the US ignored Moscow’s offer to inspect the missile made during talks in Geneva earlier this month - a refusal he alleged reflected the lack of US interest in meaningful negotiations.

The missile’s booster, cruising engine and fuel tank remain unchanged. Credit: AP

Mr Ryabkov said the US has made it clear during diplomatic contacts that President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the pact is final and not subject to talks.

US undersecretary of state Andrea Thompson, who led the American side in the talks, has said Moscow’s offer is inadequate.

"To see the missile does not confirm the distance that missile can travel, and at the end of the day that’s the violation of the treaty," she told reporters last week.