Putin: We will resume production of medium-range missiles with nuclear capabilities

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that his country would resume production of short- and medium-range missiles with nuclear capabilities, in response to what he described as moves by the United States to deploy such missiles in both Europe and Asia.

“It seems that we need to start producing these systems again,” Putin said at a meeting with senior security officials, referring to missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers that were banned under the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Washington withdrew from the treaty in 2019, accusing Moscow of non-compliance, while the Kremlin said at the time that it would commit to halting production if the United States did not deploy missiles close to its country.

Putin referred to his country’s announcement in 2019, “We will not produce these missiles, nor will we deploy them until the United States deploys these systems in some regions of the world,” pointing out that “Washington not only produces these missile systems, but has actually brought them to Europe to conduct training in Denmark.” .

He added: “Its presence in the Philippines was recently announced. We do not know whether they removed the missiles from there or not,” stressing that “Russia is therefore forced to respond.”

Putin stressed his country’s need “apparently to begin manufacturing these strike guidance systems, and then based on the current situation, we will make decisions regarding where to deploy them if necessary to ensure our safety.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry had previously stated that Moscow might review its previous announcement of a moratorium on the deployment of medium- and short-range missiles, citing “Washington’s plans to deploy such systems in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that “the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is inevitable, and we do not rule out additional steps in the field of nuclear deterrence, because American missiles will be able to reach command sites and the sites of our nuclear forces.”

1978 Treaty

In 2019, the United States officially withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it concluded with Russia in 1987, after it said that the latter had violated the agreement, an accusation denied by the Kremlin, which then imposed a moratorium on the development of missiles that were previously prohibited under the treaty.

According to the treaty signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, the two parties pledge “not to manufacture, test or deploy any ballistic, winged or medium-range missiles, and to destroy all missile systems with an average range between 1,000 and 5,000 and 500 km.” Its short range is between 500 and 1000 km.

In May 1991, the treaty was fully implemented, with the Soviet Union destroying 1,792 ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, and the United States destroying 859 missiles, according to the Russian Sputnik Agency.

Many agreements on weapons concluded during the Cold War era between the two countries have also expired or been canceled in recent years, and were aimed at reducing the nuclear arms race and calming tensions at the height of the rivalry between the two powers.

Last year, Russia suspended its participation in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two sides.

The United States provided Ukraine with short-range missiles to support it in the war against Russia. Last month, Washington partially lifted the ban on Ukraine’s use of these weapons against targets on Russian territory, raising warnings of a possible dangerous escalation by Moscow.

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