Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened to start developing missiles banned under a 1987 treaty with the United States if Washington withdraws from the agreement, Reuters reported. In a televised address, Putin said Washington was accusing Moscow of violating the 1987 nuclear arms control treaty to be able to exit the agreement.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by then President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The deal involved the destruction of certain nuclear weapons by both countries. Trump, in October, had claimed that Russia had “not adhered to the spirit of that agreement or to the agreement itself”, but Moscow has warned that abandoning the treaty would be a major blow to global security.
On Tuesday, the US gave Russia a 60-day ultimatum to admit to violating the treaty and threatened to pull out of the pact if it did not comply.
Putin claimed that many nations were building weapons that were banned by the treaty. “Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the United States must also have such a weapon,” Putin said. “What is our response? It is simple: in that case we will also do this.”
The Russian president’s statement follows accusations from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on Tuesday claiming Moscow had violated the terms of the treaty, BBC reported. “Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security,” the NATO foreign ministers’ statement read. The organisation urged Moscow to ensure compliance with the deal.