03 February, 2019
President Vladimir Putin says that Russian Federation will abandon a centerpiece nuclear arms treaty, following in the footsteps of the United States, and that Moscow will only deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles if Washington does so.
The United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on Friday, accusing Russian Federation of violating it.
The Russian president's comment comes after on 1 March previous year Putin said during his annual address to the Russian upper house that Moscow had developed a number of strategic weapons, including Avangard and Kinzhal hypersonic missile systems, underwater drone Poseidon and laser weapon Peresvet.
The collapse of the INF Treaty has raised fears of a repeat of a Cold War showdown in the 1980s, when the USA and the Soviet Union both deployed intermediate-range missiles on the continent.
It would reconsider its withdrawal if Russian Federation came into compliance with the agreement, which bans both nations from stationing short- and intermediate-range land-based missiles in Europe. Such weapons were seen as particularly destabilizing as they only take a few minutes to reach their targets, leaving no time for decision-makers and raising the likelihood of a global nuclear conflict over a false launch warning.
President Donald Trump said Friday that Washington was suspending its obligations under the INF treaty and starting a process to withdraw in six months.
"We will respond quid pro quo", Mr Putin said. "They have announced they will conduct research and development, and we will act accordingly".
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Putin said during a televised meeting with foreign and defence ministers Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu that Russian Federation would no longer initiate talks with the USA on disarmament.
The row over the treaty has drawn a strong reaction from Europe and China. Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the United States side.
"Russia will not station intermediate-range weapons in Europe or other regions until similar us weapons appear in those regions", he said.
President Vladimir Putin has said Russian Federation will follow in the footsteps of the United States and abandon a centrepiece nuclear arms treaty.
"All of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open", he added.
Sergey Lavrov was speaking during a meeting with President Putin.
Fears are now growing of a new phase in the arms race.