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Putin open to resume production and deployment of intermediate-range missiles

Russia’s president is reviewing the weapons in response to US actions following the collapse of the INF treaty

Russia could resume the production and global deployment of ground-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles, President Vladimir Putin has said.

Munitions of this type were originally restricted by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which collapsed back in 2019, yet Russia opted neither to produce nor deploy such weaponry even after the demise of the cornerstone agreement with the US.

The president made the remarks on Friday during a meeting with permanent members of the country’s Security Council. Hostile actions by the US now require Moscow to review its stance on the INF-covered weaponry, Putin told the gathering.

“Today, we will review the steps Russia should take regarding the unilateral moratorium on the deployment of ground-based intermediate- and shorter-range missiles,” Putin stated.

Moscow has lived by its promise to “neither produce these missiles, nor deploy them as long as the United States does not deploy such systems anywhere around the globe” following the collapse of the treaty, Putin noted. However, the situation has changed, with Washington deploying such missiles overseas, the president said.

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A US Army Typhoon missile system, Luzon, Philippines, April 8, 2024.
Russia could scrap restrictions on missile deployment – Lavrov

“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. It is unclear whether they have taken these missiles out of the Philippines or not,” Putin explained.

Russia now needs to “respond to this and decide on our further steps in this regard,” Putin stressed, suggesting the resumption of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles was actually the only option for the country.

“It appears that we need to begin producing these attack systems and then, based on the actual situation, decide on where to deploy them to ensure our security, if necessary,” he said.

The landmark 1987 INF Treaty banned both the US and Soviet Union (and its successor, Russia) 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 mi). The treaty did not affect air- or sea-based systems with the same range.

The cornerstone deal collapsed in 2019 under the Trump administration, with the US accusing Moscow of grossly violating it. However, it provided no solid evidence to back up the claims. Russia has been raising concerns over Washington’s actions and potential violation of the deal for years already, pointing at the elements of the so-called missile defense network deployed in Europe, which are likely compatible with ground-strike missiles rather than only anti-aircraft ones.

June 29, 2024 at 02:23AM

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