Thursday, 21 February 2019 11:29 WIB |
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow plans to target the United States with new hypersonic weapons if Washington deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
œRussia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can both be used on the territories from which the direct threat to us originates, as well as the territories where the centers of decision-making are located," Putin said during his 15th State of the Nation address before the federal assembly in Moscow on Wednesday.
Putin's frequent references to the moribund 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty came amid record-low approval ratings for the fourth-term Russian leader.
Putin rejected U.S. assertions that Washington's decision to withdraw from the landmark arms control pact was triggered by Russian violations of the agreement. He charged that the U.S. made false accusations against Russia to justify its decision to opt out of the deal.
"The U.S. directly and crudely violated the rules of the [INF] agreement; they have had launchers in Romania for a long time," he said, repeating a well-worn Kremlin talking point that refers to a Romania-based U.S. anti-ballistic missile system capable of firing Tomahawk medium-range cruise missiles.
"Russia doesn™t intend to deploy new missiles in Europe first," Putin added. œIf the U.S. really is going to deploy missiles on the European continent, it will exacerbate the international situation and create a genuine danger for Russia, as there will be missiles with a 10-12 minute flight time to Moscow."
He then seemed to taunt the U.S., calling on leaders to calculate the range and speed of Russia™s most advanced weapons.
"Russia has not taken the necessary steps to return to compliance over the last 60 days," Pompeo said in a prepared statement on February 1. "It remains in material breach of its obligations not to produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile system with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
"The United States has gone to tremendous lengths to preserve the INF Treaty, engaging with Russian officials more than 30 times in nearly six years to discuss Russia's violation, including at the highest levels of government," he added.
According to terms of the original INF agreement, Moscow and Washington are obligated to six months of negotiations over differences, which, if unresolved, constitute full withdrawal from the treaty.
If the U.S. puts additional weapons in European host countries, Putin warned that Russia would not only target those nations, but field new weapons that will target "U.S. decision-making centers."
Source : VOA