Putin gives warning on banned missiles
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has warned the US that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing banned missiles then Moscow will do the same.
It came a day after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced at a Nato meeting that Washington will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian “cheating”.
Russia has denied violating the treaty.
President Donald Trump earlier this year announced his decision to withdraw from the INF, which has been described as a cornerstone of global security, accusing Russia and China – which is not part of the treaty – of violating it.
Mr Putin said that the US decision to ditch the INF means Washington has decided America “has to have these weapons”.
Mr Putin said of Moscow’s response: “We will do the same.”
The US shared intelligence with Nato allies that it says shows Russia’s new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little notice.
Mr Putin accused Washington of making up excuses for pulling out of the pact.
When signed in 1987, the INF treaty was lauded as a major safeguard for global security as it eliminated shorter-range missiles that take just a few minutes to reach their targets. HUNDREDS of police in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have arrested at least 84 suspected mobsters and seized ¤2 million (£1.7m) in co-ordinated raids targeting the ’Ndrangheta branch of the Italian mafia.