Gulf News

Putin sees arms race if US ex­its treaty

Rus­sia ‘will do the same’ if Amer­ica de­vel­ops new mis­siles

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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.

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