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Pentagon Postpones ICBM Test Amid Tensions with Russia

The postponement was intended to ‘demonstrate that we are a responsible nuclear power,’ a spokesman said
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Feb. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Feb. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Pentagon postponed a planned test this week of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) amid signs of nuclear tensions with Russia.

“Today, I want to talk a little bit about something that we are not going to do,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said during a Wednesday press briefing. “And I want to explain why last weekend, as you saw, President Putin directed a special alert of Russian nuclear forces.”

Last week, Putin ordered the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s general staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.” The move signals tensions could boil over into a nuclear war. 

“Now, in this time of heightened tensions, the United States and other members of the international community rightly saw this as a dangerous and irresponsible — and as I’ve said before — an unnecessary step,” Kirby continued.

“Both the United States and Russia have long agreed that nuclear employment could have devastating consequences,” Kirby added. He noted the two nations recently agreed that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

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