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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Presidental Palace in Helsinki, Finland, August 21, 2019.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Presidental Palace in Helsinki, Finland, August 21, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 August 2019

Putin reiterated the need for arms-control talks and has pledged in Paris that Russia will only deploy non-INF-compliant missiles only if the United States f does first

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the United States on Wednesday to resume their mutual arms-control negotiations, after describing a new missile recently tested by Washington as "a threat" that will require a response from Moscow.

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The Russian government was “disappointed” to see the United States test the new weapon less than three weeks after Washington formally renounced the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the president announced during a press conference in Helsinki with Finnish leader, Sauli Niinistö.

Under the INF, the United States and the-then Soviet Union agreed to refrain from building and deploying land-based missiles with a range of 500- 5,471 km, with the intent of making it more difficult for either country to initiate a nuclear strike on short notice.

Last Sunday, the U.S. successfully tested a ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile, a test that would have been barred if the INF were still in force.

“The Americans have tested this missile too quickly after having withdrawn from the treaty,” Putin said Wednesday. “That gives us strong reason to believe that they had started work to adapt the sea-launched missile long before they began looking for excuses to opt out of the treaty.”

The test of the modified Tomahawk involved a launcher of the same type that the U.S. already deployed in Romania as part of a missile-defense network, the Russian leader said.

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China, Russia Accuse US of Inciting New Arms Race

“Such missiles could be launched from facilities in Romania, as well as those to be deployed in Poland. It only requires software tweaks. I’m not sure that our American friends will share the information about which software they use even with their European partners,” Putin said.

For Russia, he said, the U.S. test signifies “the emergence of new threats, to which we will react accordingly," emphasizing that ensuring the security of Russia is his top priority.

Russia and China have asked the United Nations Security Council to meet on Thursday over "statements by U.S. officials on their plans to develop and deploy medium-range missiles," according to the request seen by Reuters.

Moscow and Beijing want to convene the 15-member council under the agenda item "threats to international peace and security" and have requested that U.N. disarmament affairs chief Izumi Nakamitsu brief the body.

Washington formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 pact with Russia on Aug. 2 claiming that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin denies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday that the U.S. test showed it was stoking a new arms race and confrontation, which would have a serious negative impact on regional and global security.

A North Korean spokesman said on Thursday the U.S. test and plans to deploy F-35 jets and offensive military equipment around the Korean peninsula were "dangerous" moves that would "trigger a new Cold War" in the region.

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