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US has declared ‘economic war’ on Moscow, top Russian senator claims, says missile tests not provocation but response to hostility

US has declared ‘economic war’ on Moscow, top Russian senator claims, says missile tests not provocation but response to hostility
One of Russia's top lawmakers, Senator Alexey Pushkov, has defended his country's decision to demonstrate the capabilities of a new high-tech rocket system, saying that it is Washington, not Moscow, that is escalating tensions.

Pushkov spoke out on Tuesday after US Department of Defense Spokesman John Kirby said that the launch of the hypersonic Zircon missile from a Russian warship in the White Sea was a “destabilizing” move. “You'd have to ask [Russian President] Vladimir Putin why he's chosen to go down that route,” the official was quoted as saying. Hypersonic weapons were banned under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, from which the US withdrew unilaterally in 2001. Putin said at the time that the White House's decision was a mistake.

Responding to the comments, Pushkov said that it was dishonest to suggest it was Russia destabilizing the state of relations between the two powers, citing “the purposeful encroachment of NATO on the country's borders, the militarization of Ukraine, the stationing of American troops to neighboring countries and the deployment of missile defense systems in them.”

Also on rt.com Russian warship reports successful test-fire of hypersonic Zircon missile in tense Arctic waters, hitting target at 350km (VIDEO)

He also slammed the “introduction of 75 different sanctions – which are a series of acts of economic war,” and asked, “Is Kirby aware of all this?”

The Zircon missile was fired from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate as part of technical performance tests. In a statement issued by Moscow, military chiefs said that “the Zircon missile successfully struck the target in the White Sea with a direct hit at a distance of over 350 kilometers. The test confirmed the tactical and technical performance of the missile, and its flight speed was around Mach 7.” This means that the projectile flew at hypersonic velocity, seven times faster than the speed of sound.

In April, Putin said that next-generation “hypersonic and laser” weapons are a key part of the country's future arsenal to deter aggression from overseas. “We have patience, self-confidence, and righteousness on our side,” Putin added. “I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

Also on rt.com Putin says US developing hypersonic weapons, but Russian ‘brainpower’ means Moscow doesn't fear new arms race

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