After the US recently tested a missile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said America’s latest move has raised new threats to the country and will warrant a response from Moscow.
During a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, here on Wednesday, Putin said the Russian government was “disappointed” to see the US test the new weapon less than three weeks after Washington formally renounced the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Efe news reported.
“The Americans have tested this missile too quickly after having withdrawn from the treaty,” Putin said.
“That gives us strong reason to believe that they had started working to adapt the sea-launched missile long before they began looking for excuses to opt out of the treaty,” he added.
For Russia, Putin said, the US test signifies “the emergence of new threats, to which we will react accordingly”.
He also emphasised that ensuring the security of Russia is his top priority.
However, Putin reiterated his call for the resumption of arms-control discussions, as well as the pledge he made on Monday in Paris that Russia will only deploy non-INF-compliant missiles if it determines that the US has done so.
Under the INF treaty, the US and the then-Soviet Union had agreed to refrain from building and deploying land-based missiles with a range of 500-5,471 km, with the intent of making it more difficult for either country to initiate a nuclear strike on short notice.
Last Sunday, the US successfully tested a ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile.
The test would have been barred if the INF treaty were still in force.
US President Donald Trump said he scrapped the treaty because Russia had violated the pact. Russia has denied the accusation.