Putin says Russian Federation suspending missile treaty after United States move

Putin says Russian Federation suspending missile treaty after United States move

Putin says Russian Federation suspending missile treaty after United States move

Russian Federation has suspended the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, after the United States announced it would withdraw from the arms control pact, accusing Moscow of violations.

"China opposes the United States' move to denounce the treaty and urges the U.S. and Russian Federation to properly settle the differences through an efficient dialogue", the statement runs. Moscow strongly denies that, but President Putin today said Russian Federation would begin developing new missiles immediately.

Signed towards the end of the Cold War by then U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty bans ground-launched missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

Such weapons were seen as particularly destabilising 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.

"We have repeatedly, during a number of years, and constantly raised a question about substantiative talks on the disarmament issue", Putin said.

On Saturday, Washington said it had formally notified Russian Federation and other treaty parties of the United States' intent and suspended its obligations under the INF. "Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participation in the treaty, and we will do the same".

Lavrov on Saturday repeated Russian accusations that Washington itself has been in violation of the deal for many years.

Putin has previously threatened to develop nuclear missiles banned under the INF treaty if it is scrapped.

"Russia will not station intermediate-range weapons in Europe or other regions until similar us weapons appear in those regions", he said.

"All of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open", he added.

"We will wait until our partners have matured enough to conduct an equal, meaningful dialogue with us on this important topic", the president said.

Putin also noted during Saturday's meeting that he would like the military to prepare a response to the possible deployment of weapons in space.

Fears are now growing of a new phase in the arms race.

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