Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said his country will commence the development of missiles banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty if the United States pulls out of the arms control pact and starts making such weapons.
This warning comes just a day after the US government gave Russia a 60-day ultimatum to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of the 1987 nuclear arms control treaty.
The US had shared intelligence evidence with NATO which showed that Russia’s new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. Russia has denied the accusation.
In the televised comments, Putin accused Washington of blaming Russia for violations as a pretext to exit the pact, noting that many countries still produce missiles banned under the INF treaty but that Moscow and Washington had agreed to limit themselves to the 1987 accord.
“Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the United States must also have such a weapon. What’s our response? It’s simple, in that case we will also do this,” Putin said.