Putin orders reciprocal Russian response to U.S. missile test
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered his government to “to take exhaustive measures to prepare a reciprocal response” to the recent US test of a ground-launched, medium-range cruise missile. The test was carried out just weeks after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that banned such missiles officially became defunct.
Putin said the test showed that the US government’s reason for abandoning the INF pact earlier this year was to “untie its hands to deploy previously banned missiles in different regions of the world.” However, despite ordering a response to the controversial missile test, Putin repeated earlier statements by Russian officials that Russia “will not be drawn into a costly, economically destructive arms race.”
Due to the collapse of the INF Treat, the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia our now only bound by one remaining agreement, namely the New START Treaty that is set to expire in 2021. Experts are concerned that New START may not be renewed either, or could break down before it lapses.