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Putin: US quitting INF created ‘fundamental’ risks for all, paved way to ‘unrestrained’ arms race

Putin: US quitting INF created ‘fundamental’ risks for all, paved way to ‘unrestrained’ arms race
Russia won’t be the first to deploy INF-banned munitions and will act only in response to potential US actions, President Vladimir Putin has said, warning that the US decision to withdraw risks an “unrestricted” arms race.

“The unilateral withdrawal from the INF treaty by the US, destruction of one of the basic documents on arms control, based on an imaginary pretext, has seriously complicated the situation in the world, [and] created fundamental risks for everyone,” Putin cautioned on Monday.

The decision to ditch the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty will hark back to other accords on strategic nuclear weaponry and non-proliferation, he added. If the system crumbles, it will give way to an arms race and world-wide “chaos without any rules, restrictions, and laws.” 

The agreement - hailed as a milestone in ending the Cold War - banned the creation and deployment of land based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500km, and led to the destruction of munitions of these types.

Also on rt.com ‘Sooner rather than later’: US seeks to deploy mid-range missiles to Asia as it ditches INF Treaty

Moscow will not rush to develop land-based, intermediate-range missiles after the demise of the treaty and will only act if the US proceeds with actually designing this weaponry, according to Putin. Potential deployment of any such missiles will only happen in response to Washington’s actions.

At the same time, sea- and air-based systems – which Russia already has in stock – are capable of countering all the potential threats that might arise from emergence of the INF-prohibited weaponry in the US’ hands, the president said. Putin mentioned air-deployed Kh-101 strategic cruise missile, hypersonic Kinzhal, as well as sea-based Kalibr and - also hypersonic - Zircon cruise missiles among the weaponry.

That aside, dialogue on “strategic stability and security must be resumed without any delay.”

Also on rt.com US to develop new missiles as INF treaty expires – Pentagon

Washington suspended the INF deal in February, citing alleged violations of the agreement by Russia, and ultimately withdrew from the deal on August 2. The blame “for the treaty’s demise” was squarely placed on Moscow by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Pentagon immediately vowed to develop ‘conventional’ ground-based missiles that were previously outlawed under the agreement.

Moscow insisted that Washington did not back up any of its claims with hard facts, saying that getting rid of the INF was the desired goal for the US.

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