Putin gives warn­ing on banned mis­siles

Warwickshire Telegraph - - WORLD -

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.

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