Russia “properly notified” the US about its plans to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile ahead of time, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
“Russia properly notified the United States under its New START treaty obligations that it planned to test this ICBM. Such testing is routine, and it was not a surprise,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters. “Pentagon has not deemed the test to be a threat to the United States or its allies.”
Kirby added that the Pentagon’s focus remained on Russia’s “unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.”
Kirby’s comments came shortly after Russia’s Vladimir Putin said the launch of the Sarmat ICBM would make Moscow’s enemies “think twice” about threatening his country.
Despite initially saying the test was not deemed a threat to the US, a senior US defense official said the rhetoric from Russia was “unhelpful.”
“[Putin] said it himself that there was a message to be received in this and frankly, we find that rhetoric to be unhelpful given the current context of things,” the official told reporters.
The senior defense official also criticized Putin and Russia for the test, which is “not the kind of thing that we would expect from a responsible nuclear power, especially in the current environment.”
Last month, the US shelved its own test an ICBM in what it said was an effort to prevent any escalation of tensions due to Russia invasion of Ukraine.
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