President Vladimir Putin says that Russia 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.
Putin spoke after the US announced on Friday it was pulling the plug on the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty over alleged Russian violations. Moscow denied any breaches and accused Washington of making false accusations in order to justify its pullout.
Putin told a meeting with foreign and defense ministers on Saturday that Russia has suspended the INF Treaty following a similar decision by the US, the Kremlin said.
Putin also said that Russia will start working on creating new missiles, including supersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington.
He ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons, but emphasized that Russia won’t deploy them in the European part of the country or elsewhere unless the US does so.
(With The Associated Press, Reuters)