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Russia says it won’t let US see missile at heart of nuclear dispute

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Russia said on Wednesday it would not let the United States inspect a new nuclear-capable cruise missile at the heart of a dispute between Washington and Moscow that risks unraveling a landmark arms control treaty.

Washington has threatened to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), alleging that the new Russian missile, the Novator 9M729 (called SSC-8 by NATO), violates the pact, which bans either side from stationing short and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.

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Russia says the missile’s range puts it outside the treaty altogether and is not as long as Washington alleges, meaning that it is fully compliant with the INF. It has accused the United States of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty it wants to leave anyway so as to develop new missiles.

The United States issued Russia a 60-day ultimatum earlier this month to come clean about the alleged missile violation and return to “full and verifiable compliance.” That means Moscow is under pressure to scrap the new missile and its launchers.

However, Russia said on Wednesday it had no intention of letting U.S. inspectors look at the missile, which it said had not been tested at the longer range that Washington alleges.

“We don’t feel right now that such a step would be justified from either a political or a technical point of view,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Kommersant daily newspaper published on Wednesday.

Ryabkov accused Washington of “extremely intrusive” attempts to shine a light on Russian rocket manufacturing and said that Washington had in the past rebuffed Russian requests to look inside U.S. submarines under another arms control treaty.

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Any such inspections – if they were to happen – should not be unilateral but should take place in both countries, he added.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said on Nov. 30 that Russia has already deployed multiple battalions of 9M729 missiles and that they posed a direct threat to most of Europe and parts of Asia.

Russian military experts asked their U.S. counterparts several days ago to hold consultations on the missile dispute, but had not yet received any response, Ryabkov said.

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Editing by Mark Heinrich


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Eric Trump bragged about the stock market as the US crossed 100,000 dead — and it didn’t go well

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On Wednesday, the number of reported coronavirus deaths in the United States officially hit the 100,000 mark — a milestone experts have been anticipating for days.

But at the same time, President Donald Trump's second son chose to take the moment to brag about how the stock market was doing.

GREAT DAY for the DOW!! https://t.co/t0cK3wOKUu

— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) May 27, 2020

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Navajo Nation got masks from a former Trump official — that ‘are not approved by the FDA’: report

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The Indian Health Service acknowledged on Wednesday that 1 million respirator masks it purchased from a former Trump White House official do not meet Food and Drug Administration standards for “use in healthcare settings by health care providers.”

The IHS statement calls into question why the agency purchased expensive medical gear that it now cannot use as intended. The masks were purchased as part of a frantic agency push to supply Navajo hospitals with desperately needed protective equipment in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

ProPublica revealed last week that Zach Fuentes, President Donald Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, formed a company in early April and 11 days later won a $3 million contract with IHS to provide specialized respirator masks to the agency for use in Navajo hospitals. The contract was granted with limited competitive bidding.

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‘There needs to be a prosecution’ of cop who killed George Floyd: CNN guest says ‘call it what it is’

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On CNN Wednesday, criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson walked through why the Minneapolis police officer responsible for George Floyd's suffocation death must be prosecuted.

"Bottom line, question here from looking at this, should the officer face charges?" asked host Erin Burnett.

"Erin, I don't think there is any question about that, and I think if you look at it, under any reasonable measure there needs to be a prosecution," said Jackson. "You know, when you look at issues of excessive force — and I know this comes with a lot of emotion, and it should because of the blatant nature of what occurred. But if you even look at it legally and forget about the emotion, you look and you see, was there an imminent fear that the officer was facing when he had his knee in the neck of Mr. Floyd? And the answer is resoundingly no. You look at the force he used, that is the officer, and you say is it proportionate to whatever threat was posed? The answer is no, you don't see any threat. You see a person detained and really not resisting at all."

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