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Putin makes missile announcement

Moscow is ready to start manufacturing systems that were previously banned by the now-defunct INF Treaty, the Russian president has said

The Russian defense industry is ready to start producing intermediate and shorter-range missiles that had been banned under a now-defunct treaty with the US, President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday.

The Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) had prohibited these systems, but the US withdrew from it in 2019. Moscow chose to maintain the ban so long as Washington abided by it as well.

“As I’ve said, in connection with the US withdrawal from this treaty and the announcement that they are starting production, we also consider ourselves entitled to start research, development, and in the future, production,” Putin said on Thursday at a press conference following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“We are conducting this R&D, and we are ready to start production. We have already, in principle, given the relevant instructions to our industry,” he added.

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Putin mentioned during a meeting of the National Security Council in Moscow last week the possibility that Russia might resume production of previously banned missile systems, citing the “hostile actions” of the US.

“We now know that the US is not only producing these missile systems, but has also brought them to Europe, Denmark, to use in exercises. Not long ago, it was reported that they were in the Philippines,” Putin explained at the time.

Washington’s moves left Moscow with no choice but to revive its intermediate-range and short-range programs, he said, adding that they would be deployed “based on the actual situation, if necessary.”

The 1987 INF treaty had banned both the US and Soviet Union from producing and fielding ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles – as well as their respective launchers – with ranges of 500 to 5,500 km (310 to 3,420 miles). The treaty did not affect air- or sea-based systems with the same range. This helped lower the tensions over the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe.

Russia as the successor to the USSR continued to adhere to the treaty, while raising concerns that US installations in Eastern Europe – ostensibly designed as missile defenses – violated the treaty because their launchers were capable of deploying ground-attack munitions as well. In 2019, Washington pulled out of the treaty, accusing Moscow of having violated it without offering evidence to back up that claim.

July 04, 2024 at 08:07PM

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