US military intelligence steps up accusation against Russia over nuclear testing

The new statement from the Defense Intelligence Agency amounted to a more direct accusation against Russia, compared to hedged comments about Russian nuclear testing that DIA Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr. made in a speech in Washington in late May.

“The U.S. Government, including the Intelligence Community, has assessed that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons tests that have created nuclear yield,” the DIA statement released Thursday said. The agency didn’t give any details about the alleged tests or release any evidence backing the accusation.

Previously, the agency’s director said that Russia “probably” was not adhering to the “zero-yield” standard the United States applies for nuclear testing. He suggested that Russia was probably conducting tests with explosions above a subcritical yield as part of its development of a suite of more-sophisticated nuclear weapons.

Russia has vehemently rejected Washington’s accusations, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov describing them as delusional.

“We consider claims that Russia may be conducting very low-yield nuclear tests as a crude provocation,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the DIA first aired the allegations. “This accusation is absolutely groundless and is no more than another attempt to smear Russia’s image.”

DIA’s latest accusation came a

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