Putin Says if U.S. Develops Banned Missiles, so Will Russia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires Argentina on Dec 1 2018

U.S. signals it will suspend nuclear treaty with Russia after NATO finding

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that the U.S. will stop adhering to a decades-old nuclear treaty in 60 days unless Russian Federation returns to compliance with the agreement.

Russian Federation will target countries hosting USA missiles if Washington goes ahead with plans to pull out of a landmark Cold War arms treaty, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said Wednesday.

"Our nations have a choice".

"The United States has remained in full compliance with its obligations under the INF Treaty since it entered into force", the ministers said in their joint statement.

Russian Federation will develop missiles banned under a Cold War agreement if the U.S. exits the pact, President Vladimir Putin has warned.

In October, the USA accused Russian Federation of violating the treaty by owning a Novator 9M729 missile.

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"We are acting to preserve, protect, and advance an open, just, transparent and free world of sovereign states", Secretary Pompeo told the audience of diplomats and government officials.

Meanwhile, in Brussels Tuesday, during a separate speech hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Pompeo dismissed claims that the United States was withdrawing from the global stage under President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

Moscow refused to acknowledge the existence of the missile system for four years. The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said that his country is suspending its obligations under the agreement.

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.

"Russia must return to full and verifiable compliance; Russia's failure to do so will result in the demise of the INF Treaty", Pompeo told reporters.

China, in particular, has developed a formidable arsenal of short- and mid-range missiles which the United States can not deploy under the treaty.

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"They thought we would not notice", the Kremlin chief said, claiming the Pentagon has already earmarked an amount for the development of missiles banned by the treaty. American officials attempted to bring China into the treaty on three occasions, failing each time.

"No proof has been produced to support this American position", Zakharova said. In a televised address, Putin said Washington was accusing Moscow of violating the 1987 nuclear arms control treaty to be able to exit the agreement.

US allies lobbied Pompeo to provide the 60-day window, hoping that a diplomatic solution can be secured during that time.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday dismissed USA claims Russian Federation is violating a major Cold War treaty limiting mid-range nuclear arms, as a senior general lashed out at Washington's attempts to "contain" Moscow.

"Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe", he told a new conference after a meeting with his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation counterparts.

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