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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

‘I just don’t get it’, Wash Me on Ludlow suffers thefts and abuse of services

Owner Michelle Nischi is concerned for her health and her business

Ladysmith businesses carry on in the time of COVID-19

Local businesses struggle to stay open and serve the public

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

Most Read