MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. Russia will necessarily respond to the US new cruise missile’s test and the Defense Ministry has already launched work to fulfill the relevant instruction by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
"There are no doubts that it [the response] will follow and all measures will be taken to ensure our country’s security," the Russian presidential spokesman said.
When asked about whether the Defense Ministry had started fulfilling the president’s decree on preparing such a response, Peskov noted: "You have surely heard the president’s instructions. They have been given. Yes, of course."
Responding to a question about whether various military drills launched in Russia over the past few days were linked with the preparation of such a response, the Kremlin spokesman noted that the maneuvers "are the Russian army’s usual work." "In general, there has been quite intensive activity lately both for military development and for our troops’ maintenance in the proper state," Peskov stressed.
On August 2, Washington formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987. It applied to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington repeatedly accused Russia of violating the accord, but Moscow vehemently dismissed all accusations and, in its turn, expressed grievances over Washington’s non-compliance.
Following Washington’s withdrawal, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the Treaty had been terminated from August 2 on the United States’ initiative.
On August 18, the US conducted a flight test of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile. The US tested the cruise missile for the first time after withdrawing from the INF Treaty. The missile was fired to a range of over 500km, which was prohibited by the INF Treaty.
US officials numerously spoke about the possible flight test of a land-based cruise missile in late August. The Pentagon said in mid-March that a Tomahawk missile could be tested to a range of about 1,000 km. Also, the US Department of Defense plans to test a land-based intermediate-range ballistic missile in November. As the Pentagon says, a completely new missile similar to the Pershing II will be tested. The US Pershing II missiles had been eliminated by 1991 under the INF Treaty.
Russian President Putin gave instructions on August 23 to analyze the threat level in the wake of the US test of the new cruise missile modification and take measures for preparing a symmetric response.