If US builds missiles, so will we - Putin

Elias Hubbard
December 6, 2018

Putin dismissed Pompeo's statement as a smokescreen, saying Washington had already chose to ditch the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).

Putin said about a dozen countries were now producing mid-range missiles of the type banned by the INF treaty. President Trump has threatened to rip the agreement up and issued Moscow with a 60-day ultimatum to come clean about what they say is a violation of the treaty which keeps missiles out of Europe.

The NATO chief said the alliance is also preparing a contingency plan in case the Kremlin fails to comply and the US pulls out of the accord.

"What's our response? It's simple - in that case we will also do this".

EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini, who met with Lavrov on the sidelines of the 25th OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan, addressed the issue, stating that the INF Treaty must be preserved as it is key to European and global security.

The nuclear-capable Russian cruise missiles are mobile and hard to detect and can hit cities in Europe with little or no warning, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, dramatically changing the security situation on the continent.

If Russia does not comply within the 60-day deadline, the United States will begin the six-month process of formally withdrawing from the INF treaty.

The US and NATO say Russia's 9M729 system, also known by the designation SSC-8, violates the INF treaty, which banned ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

On Tuesday, the United States issued a 60-day ultimatum for Russian Federation to comply with the INF treaty that it says Moscow has violated. "But if it happens we will react accordingly".

"We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russian Federation is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty".

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, warned that failing to negotiate a solution with Moscow "risks the start of a new missile race in Europe that will undermine European security".

Meanwhile Bloomberg reported that Russia's Defence Ministry said it has deployed laser weapons which military analysts believe are capable of intercepting drones, missiles and aircraft.

His administration's move to set up a missile shield in Europe alarmed the Kremlin and was scrapped by the Obama administration in 2009.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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