President Vladimir Putin: Russia will make banned missiles if US exits arms treaty

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec 1, 2018.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a joint news conference at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec 1, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russia will develop missiles now banned under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty if the United States exits the arms control pact and starts making such weapons, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (Dec 5).

The US delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of the 1987 nuclear arms control treaty, saying it would be forced to start a six-month process of withdrawal if nothing changes.

Mr Putin, in televised comments, accused the US of blaming Russia for violations as a pretext for Washington to exit the pact.

Mr Putin noted that many countries produce missiles banned under the INF treaty, but that Moscow and Washington had undertaken to limit themselves with the accord signed in 1987.

"Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the United States must also have such a weapon. What's our response? It's simple: in that case we will also do this," he said.