MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry has angrily rejected a U.S. claim of Moscow’s possible violation of a global nuclear test ban.

Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, said Wednesday that Russia “probably” is not adhering to a pact banning nuclear weapons testing. Speaking at the Hudson Institute, Ashley said Russia’s nuclear activities would help it improve its weapons capabilities.

Russia's Foreign Ministry dismissed Ashley's assertion as a "crude provocation." It emphasized that Russia ratified the ban in 2000 and has "strictly adhered to its letter and spirit."

The ministry said Ashley’s “absolutely unfounded” claim could reflect an attempt to divert attention from Washington’s staunch refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and may herald a U.S. intention to resume nuclear weapons tests.

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