Watch: Will produce banned weapons if US begins similar move, says Putin on nuclear arms control treaty

Putin says Russia will be forced to respond if US exits arms treaty Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Moscow, Russia Dec 05, 2018, 06.54 PM (IST)

Russia will develop missiles now banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty if the United States exits the arms control pact and starts making such weapons, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

The United States delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of the 1987 nuclear arms control treaty, saying it would be forced to start a six-month process of withdrawal if nothing changes.

Putin, in televised comments, accused the United States of blaming Russia for violations as a pretext for Washington to exit the pact.

Putin noted that many countries produce missiles banned under the INF treaty, but that Moscow and Washington had undertaken to limit themselves with the accord signed in 1987.

"Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the United States must also have such a weapon. What's our response? It's simple: in that case, we will also do this," he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said statements from the United States and NATO were whipping up tensions.

Russia's ministry of foreign affairs had said the United States was yet to provide any evidence Moscow was in breach of a landmark arms control treaty.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo had said earlier that Russia had developed "multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles", referring to the land-based, intermediate-range Cruise missile which also has the name of Novator 9M729.

"Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe," he told a news conference after a meeting with his NATO counterparts on Monday.

Story highlights

Putin, in televised comments, accused the United States of blaming Russia for violations as a pretext for Washington to exit the pact.