Putin calls for Russia's 'symmetric response' to United States missile test

Russia's acting Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyasnky EPA-EFE  BRYAN R. SMITH

Russia's acting Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyasnky EPA-EFE BRYAN R. SMITH

Russian Federation and China blasted the test, accusing the United States of stoking "new arms race" and "escalating military tensions" with the missile test.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown here at the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday, said on Friday that Russia should respond in kind to the testing of a new US cruise missile.

This type of weapon was banned under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement, which limited the use of nuclear and conventional medium-range weapons.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters recently that the Pentagon wants to deploy missile systems "to the Asia Indo-PACOM theater". The acronym refers to the United States Indo-Pacific Command.

Putin argued that the United States has set up the conditions to deploy its new land-based missile in Romania and Poland. "All that does not leave any doubts what the real aims of the United States are - getting clear of the limitations...they freed its hands to deploy the previously banned missiles in different parts of the world".

Russian Federation "will not be pulled into an expensive arms race destructive for our economy" but will need to "ensure the safety of our people and our country", he said.

Putin told Russia's Defense Ministry and other agencies to "study the level of threat posed by these USA actions and take exhaustive measures to prepare a symmetrical response", according to Russia-backed outlet RT. "But our American colleagues it seems are not", said Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations.

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Defense officials had said last March that this missile would likely have a range of about 620 miles and that it might be ready for deployment within 18 months.

"The United States will not remain a party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russian Federation", said US acting ambassador to the U.N. Stephen Cohen.

Moscow immediately accused Washington of stoking military tensions with the test, and along with China called for a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue.

USA officials, however, have said American has no plans to send new land-based missiles to Europe.

Russian Federation ranks 7th in the world in defense spending behind the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, France and Japan, Putin said.

Polyansky said that European countries should understand "that because of the U.S.'s geopolitical ambitions we are all one step from an arms race that can not be controlled or regulated in any way".

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