Deputy Chief of General Staff of Russia, Valery Gerasimov delivers his speech during a briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. Gerasimov told a briefing of foreign military attaches on Wednesday that if the U.S. “were to destroy” the treaty “we will not leave it without a response.” (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Putin: If US develops banned missiles, so will Russia

President Donald Trump earlier this year announced his decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned the United States that if it walks out of a key arms treaty and starts developing the type of missiles banned by it, Russia will do the same.

Putin’s remarks to Russian news agencies on Wednesday came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting that Washington will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian “cheating.”

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that it says shows that Russia’s new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. Russia has denied the accusations.

President Donald Trump earlier this year announced his decision to withdraw from the INF, accusing Russia and China — which is not a signatory to the treaty — of violating it.

Putin on Wednesday accused the United States of making up excuses for pulling out of the pact, saying that the U.S. first made up its mind to walk out of it and only then “started to look for the reasons why they should do it.”

“It seems that our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the U.S. has to have this type of weapons,” he said in televised remarks. “What would be our response? A very simple one: in that case, we will do the same.”

Speaking at a briefing of foreign military attaches earlier, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of the Russian military, warned of a Russian response and said that it would be the countries that host U.S. intermediate-range missiles that would become immediate targets for Russia.

When signed in 1987, the INF treaty was lauded as a major safeguard for global security since they eliminated shorter-range missiles that take just a few minutes to reach their targets. The removal of such destabilizing weapons would in theory allow more time for decision-making in case of a warning of a missile attack.

U.S. ally Germany, which has been keen to preserve the treaty, called on Russia to try to save it while it still has the time.

“The INF treaty is of great significance for security in Europe,” government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in Berlin on Wednesday. “The German government welcomes the fact that the American government is giving its preservation another chance,” she added, referring to the 60-day deadline. She also noted that the issue came up in a meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump in Argentina on Saturday.

“It is now up to Russia to avert the end of the treaty,” Demmer said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

Seniors’ care one of many causes supported by GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Oak Bay community invited to News’ 5th annual readers tea

Oak Bay News, Carlton House host Sept. 17 afternoon tea

Colwood square dancing open house to welcome in new dancers

“It’s therapy,” said long-time square dancer Linda Townsend

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Tragic bus crash, Pacific FC win and Terry Fox runs

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read