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Russia to react 'appropriately' to US INF Treaty pullout: Putin

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-12-05 20:39

MOSCOW - Russia opposes the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) and it will respond "in an appropriate manner," Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

"Apparently, our US partners believe that the situation has changed so much that the United States should have such weapons. What is the answer from our side? Simple: we will also have them then," Putin told reporters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday during a press conference in Brussels that the United States would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty in 60 days unless Russia returns to full compliance with the agreement.

Putin said that the US Congress allocated money for the development of missiles banned by the treaty even before Washington announced its withdrawal from the pact and they did it quietly hoping that nobody would notice it.

As the next step, Washington began to look for someone to blame and chose Russia, he said, adding that the United States, however, provides no evidence of Russian violation.

Putin recalled that in the early 2000s the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, one of the cornerstones of international security.

Now the United States is taking another "thoughtless step," the Russian leader said.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

Moscow and Washington have been accusing each other of violating the arms control agreement in recent years amid increasing tensions between the two countries.

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