Putin: Russia will only deploy new missiles if USA does

Putin: Russia will only deploy new missiles if USA does

Kerry Wise
February 3, 2019

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said Russian Federation was suspending its participation in a key Cold War-era missile treaty in a mirror response to a U.S. move the day before. The move was in response to the United States' announcement yesterday that they were pulling out of the same treaty, claiming Russian Federation has repeatedly violated its terms.

The U.S. has accused Russian Federation of developing and deploying a cruise missile that violates provisions of the pact that ban production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310 to 3,410 miles.

Brokered by U.S. president Ronald Reagan with last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty ended a superpower buildup of warheads that had frightened Europeans.

"Our American partners have announced they are suspending their participation in the deal, and we are also suspending our participation", Putin said of the agreement, following a United States deadline for cooperation.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington would suspend its liabilities under the INF Treaty starting February 2 and would quit it within six months if Russian Federation fails to comply with its demands.

Russia's foreign minister said the U.S. withdrawal from the pivotal pact has further upset strategic stability.

The row over the treaty has drawn a strong reaction from Europe and China.

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"We will wait until our partners have matured enough to conduct an equal, meaningful dialogue with us on this important topic", the president said.

"Russia will not station intermediate-range weapons in Europe or other regions until similar USA weapons appear in those regions", he said.

"The character and the timing of the works provide an irrefutable proof that the US administration had made a decision to pull out of the INF treaty years before making unfounded claims of Russian violations", it said.

Putin has previously threatened to develop nuclear missiles banned under the INF treaty if it is scrapped.

Putin also noted during Saturday's meeting that he would like the military to prepare a response to the possible deployment of weapons in space.

The Russian minister said that another centrepiece nuclear arms pact, the New Start, which is set to expire in 2021, is also in trouble.