The US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty faced an expected response from Russia. On February 2, President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is also halting its participation in the INF Treaty in respnose to Washington’s decision to suspend it.
Now, Russia will develop missiles previously forbidden under the agreement.
“Ours will be a mirror response. Our US partners say that they are ceasing their participation in the treaty, and we are doing the same,” Putin said during a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “They say that they are doing research and testing [on new weapons] and we will do the same thing.”
Putin added that no more talks should be initiated by the Russian side with the US to try and save the INF Treaty.
“Let’s wait until our partners mature sufficiently to hold a level, meaningful conversation on this topic, which is extremely important for us, them, and the entire world,” he said.
Furthermore, Putin gave a green light to the development of a mid-range hypersonic missile for the Russian Armed Forces.
“I agree with the proposal… to create a ground-based hypersonic mid-range missile,” Putin said.
Another proposal supported by Putin is to develop a ground-based model of the Kalibr cruise missile, which is currently fitted on warplanes, warships, and submarines.
During the meeting, Defense Minister Shoigu stated that the US has been developing mid-range missiles violating the INF Treaty for a long time.
On February 1, the US officially announced that it’s suspending its participation in the INF Treaty on February 2 and added that it will fully quit it if Russia does not obey it demands to “verifiably” destroy “INF-violating missiles, their launchers and associated equipment”. Washington claims that the modernized 9M729 missile of the Russian Iskander missile complex violates the deal while Moscow rejects these accusations. At the same time, Russia has a wide range of concerns over the US violations of the INF Treaty in multiple spheres. Washington rejects the accusations also.