Russian president Vladimir Putin has vowed to use force against the United States should the U.S. deploy any missile weapons in Europe. Putin says the threat is necessary to protect Russia because U.S. weapons will be much closer to being able to destroy his country.
In what could be called Putin’s toughest remarks yet on a potential new arms race, the Russian president said Moscow was not seeking confrontation and would not take the first step to deploy missiles in response to Washington’s decision this month to quit a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty. But Putin would take action against the U.S. if the decision is made to deploy weapons in Europe.
According to NBC News, he said that U.S. policymakers, some of whom he said were obsessed with U.S. exceptionalism, should calculate the risks before taking any steps. Any decision by Washington to place new missiles in Europe would leave Moscow with no choice but to respond because it would drastically cut the time it took U.S. missiles to reach Russia, something that would pose a direct threat, Putin said.
BREAKING: President Vladimir Putin warns new Russian weapons will target US if it deploys missiles to Europe.
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 20, 2019
“It’s their [U.S. politicians’] right to think how they want. But can they count? I’m sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing,” Putin told Russia’s political elite to strong applause. “Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision-making are located.”
Earlier this month, Washington politicians said the U.S. government was suspending its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and starting the process of quitting it, untying its hands to develop new missiles. The ruling class claims Russia violated the treaty, while Russia denies doing so, but retaliated by also suspending its own obligations and quitting the pact more commonly known as the INF treaty.