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Putin orders Russian military to prepare 'symmetric response' after US missile test

File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( AFP )

Agencies Moscow Aug 23, 2019, 03.42 PM (IST)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said he has ordered the military to prepare a "symmetric response" after Washington announced this week it had tested a formerly banned missile.

Putin said he had ordered an analysis of "the level of threat for our country created by the actions of the US and to take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetric response".

Putin's reaction comes after the Pentagon had announced on Monday that it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, the first such test since the United States pulled out of a major arms control treaty with Russia on August 2.

Putin said Russia could not stand idly by, and that US talk of deploying new missiles in the Asia-Pacific region "affects our core interests as it is close to Russia's borders", according to a transcript of his remarks on the Kremlin website.

"As you know, we have never wanted, do not want and will not get involved in a costly, destructive arms race," Putin said.

Russia and China had asked the United Nations Security Council to meet over "statements by US officials on their plans to develop and deploy medium-range missiles," according to Reuters.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was asked in a Fox News Channel interview on Wednesday whether the test was aimed at sending a message to China, Russia or North Korea and indicated that the main concern was China.

"We want to make sure that we, as we need to, have the capability to deter Chinese bad behaviour by having our own capability to be able to strike at intermediate ranges," he said.

Esper had said on a visit to Australia this month he was in favour of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon.

Esper was also asked about a rocket test accident in Russia this month which US officials believe was associated with the Kremlin's hypersonic cruise missile program.

“Clearly they are trying to expand their strategic nuclear arsenal to deal with the United States," he said, adding that all such new weapons would have to be included in any future strategic arms reduction treaty.

(Inputs: Reuters & AFP)
 

Story highlights

Esper had said on a visit to Australia this month he was in favour of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon.