Pentagon postpones nuclear missile test — Analysis
John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman announced that the Pentagon had rescheduled the test of Minuteman III intercontinental missile ballistic missile originally scheduled for Sunday. The move is indicated “Demonstrating that we are responsible nuclear powers,” he said.
“The Secretary of Defense directed the postponement of our Minuteman III intercontinental balistic missile test launch, which was due to take place this week. This is to show that there are no intentions to misunderstand or misinterpret.,” he said in a televised address.
.@PentagonPresSecWe are not attempting to misunderstand or misunderstand any of our actions. @SecDefOur Minuteman III Intercontinental missile ballistic missile launch, scheduled for next week, has been rescheduled. pic.twitter.com/VucCOoeBw0
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) March 2, 2022
Kirby declared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put Russia’s nuclear forces on a “Combat duty: Special Regime” to be a “dangerous and irresponsible and…unnecessary step.” However, experts have acknowledged it’s not clear what change the move meant for Russia’s nuclear arsenal, and note that the US’ own missiles are armed at all times.
Kirby himself insisted the postponement of the test launch was “We are not moving backwards when it comes to our readiness.” He said the US was ready and willing to defend itself, its allies and its partners, but that “In this moment of tension” he recognized “How critical is it that the US and Russia both recognize the risks of miscalculations and take measures to minimize them.”
Since World War II no long-range nukes or bombs were used in wartime. This is largely due to the Soviet Union testing their own nukes in 1949, and because of the two superpowers that have such weapons the benefit of using them against each other was negligible. Both Russia and NATO have shorter-range nuclear weapons, but Washington considers them less important.
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Putin cited “aggressive statements” by NATO and financial sanctions in his decision to increase the readiness of Russia’s weapons. Meanwhile, the EU has taken the unprecedented step of shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to help Ukraine amid Russia’s offensive. US also increased military and financial assistance. NATO remains stationed just outside Ukraine, with various officials saying that the alliance would not take part in the conflict as long as hostilities don’t spill into an allied country.