Putin says if U.S. starts developing intermediate-range missiles, so will Russian Federation

Putin Russia to respond if U.S. exits INF Treaty

Putin says if U.S. starts developing intermediate-range missiles, so will Russian Federation

Putin, in televised comments, said that Moscow was against the scrapping of the treaty, but that the United States had long ago made a decision to exit the treaty and was blaming Russian Federation for violations in order for them to serve as a pretext.

The treaty dates back to a Cold War-era agreement signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The deal involved the destruction of certain nuclear weapons by both countries.

While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there would now be an intense diplomatic push to try to convince Russian Federation to give up what Pompeo said were "multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles", Washington is set to pull out in February.

In October, US President Donald Trump said Washington would pull out of the INF Treaty on account of Russia's alleged breach of the agreement, which Moscow repeatedly denied.

The information included details on the missile's test history and the names of companies involved in developing and producing the missile and its launcher, the State Department said.

Very simple: "We will also do this", he said, indicating that Russian Federation will no longer abide by the treaty if the United States withdraws. "What is our response?"

"We already have in operation, one of our hypersonic systems", he told Daily Star Online.

'What's our response? It's simple: "in that case we will also do this", he said. Washington's top diplomat warned that the US would withdraw from the treaty if Moscow did not move toward compliance. The United States holds that Russian Federation has violated the treaty since the mid-2000s by testing the SSC-8 missile system.

The U.S also said it would be forced to start a six-month process of withdrawal if nothing changes.

Russian Federation has denied US and NATO allegations that it is violating the landmark treaty that banned an entire class of weapons.

Pompeo noted that during the 60-day period, the U.S. would continue to adhere to the treaty: "we will not test or produce or deploy any systems".

The foreign ministers of NATO members also demanded that Russian Federation return to compliance with the treaty in a Tuesday statement, standing in support of the Trump administration's position.

"There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, " Pompeo said Tuesday.

"No proof has been produced to support this American position", Zakharova said.

The prospect of the INF's disintegration would remove what has been a pillar of nuclear stability for the trans-Atlantic community for the last 30 years, demand a hard re-think of NATO's defensive posture, and exert new budgetary pressure on the allies, said officials. A USA exit from the INF treaty would put another strain on NATO allies already shaken by Trump's demands for higher defence spending and what diplomats say is a lack of clarity about where US strategy is heading on the issue.

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