Putin Orders Russian Military to Respond to U.S. Missile Test Under Now-Defunct INF Treaty

  • On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s military to respond “after the test of a new U.S. missile banned under a now-defunct arms treaty.”
  • In America’s test on Sunday, “a modified ground-launched version of a U.S. Navy Tomahawk cruise missile accurately struck its target more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) away.”
  • The test followed both the U.S. and Russia withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
  • At a Security Council meeting, Putin accused the U.S. of waging a “propaganda campaign alleging Russian breaches of the pact to untie its hands to deploy the previously banned missiles in different parts of the world.”
  • Additionally, Putin “ordered the Defense Ministry and other agencies to take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetrical answer.”
  • The U.S. withdrew from the treaty over its claims that Russia violated the deal, but Russia has vehemently denied the accusations.
  • This week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper insisted “that the Russian cruise missiles Washington has long claimed were a violation of the now-defunct Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty, might be armed with nuclear warheads.”
  • Esper said: “Right now Russia has possibly nuclear-tipped cruise – INF-range cruise missiles facing toward Europe, and that, that’s not a good thing.”
  • Putin also mentioned that Sunday’s test “was performed from a launcher similar to those deployed at a U.S. missile defense site in Romania.”
  • The Russian president argued “that the Romanian facility and a prospective similar site in Poland could also be loaded with missiles intended to hit ground targets instead of interceptors.”
  • Previously, Putin vowed “that Russia wouldn’t deploy the missiles previously banned by the INF Treaty to any area before the U.S. does that first, but he noted Friday that the use of the universal launcher means that a covert deployment is possible.”
  • Putin said: “How would we know what they will deploy in Romania and Poland — missile defense systems or strike missile systems with a significant range?”

Reference Links

  • AP: Putin orders Russia to respond after US missile test READ
  • NPR: Putin To Russian Military: ‘Prepare A Symmetrical Response’ To U.S. Missile Test READ
  • ABC: Putin orders Russia to respond after US missile test READ
  • Fox: Putin orders ‘symmetrical response’ to US missile test READ

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