Putin sees arms race if US exits treaty
Russia ‘will do the same’ if America develops new missiles
Vladimir Putin has threatened that Russia will develop new missiles banned by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty if the US exits the pact and pursues an arms buildup of its own.
The Russian president’s remarks came one day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Moscow was in “material breach” of the cold war-era treaty and issued a 60-day ultimatum for Russia to correct the alleged violations. Otherwise the US would quit the 1987 accord, seen as a milestone in reducing the threat of a nuclear war in Europe, he said.
In Moscow yesterday, Putin told journalists that the US had provided “no evidence” of Russian violations, and threatened an arms race if the US sought to develop new medium-range missiles after exiting the treaty. “Apparently, our American partners believe that the situation has changed so drastically that the US should also have such weapons,” Putin said in remarks carried by the Interfax news service.
“What response is our side to give? A simple one: then we’ll do the same.”
The arms treaty, signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, banned groundlaunched missiles with a range of 500-5,500km.