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Putin: Russia may create ground-based weapon systems if US quits INF Treaty

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty

MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. It won’t take much effort for Russia to create the appropriate ground-based weapon systems, if the US quits the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an enlarged board meeting of the Defense Ministry on Tuesday.

As the Russian leader said, "largely speaking, Russia has everything" "And if there occurs what they are trying to frighten us with, we will have to respond accordingly. And, as you understand, if we have airborne and sea-based systems, it won’t take much effort for us to carry out R&D and place such systems on the ground, if necessary," the Russian leader said.

Nothing impedes discussing modernization of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear ForcesTreaty with other countries or working out a new arms deal in this sphere, he added.

"Yes, indeed, there are certain complexities with this treaty and other countries possessing shorter-and intermediate-range missiles do not participate in it," Putin said.

"But nothing impedes launching negotiations on their accession to the existing treaty or starting discussing parameters of a new deal," Putin said.

The Russian leader stressed that "no matter what claims over the treaty may be, it plays the role of a stabilizing factor in the present-day conditions and works to maintain a certain level of predictability and containment in the military sphere."

"However, in case that the US dismantles the Treaty, we will be forced to take additional measures to strengthen our security," Putin said.

As the Russian leader noted, "as before, Russia is open for any proposals and initiatives that help strengthen international security, including preventing a new arms race."

"I’m confident that this is in the interests of Russia, the United States and the entire world," Putin said.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that his country would quit the INF Treaty because Russia was allegedly in breach of that agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov described this as a dangerous move. Washington was also criticized in Berlin and Beijing. In the meantime, London came out in support of the United States and NATO placed the responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia, because in its opinion Moscow had apparently violated the treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. It outlawed deployed and non-deployed intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-based missiles.

In recent years, Washington has repeatedly alleged Russia was in breach of the agreement. Moscow emphatically dismissed the charges and countered them with its own claims over the United States’ non-compliance.