Putin says Russia suspending missile treaty after US move

A cruise missile is fired by a US guided-missile destroyer

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he made a decision to change the format of the meetings on the implementation of the state defence order and would personally control the way Russia's new hypersonic missile systems, as well as the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, are being put on alert.

The United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on Friday, accusing Russian Federation of violating it.

Putin said Russian Federation will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, accusing the United States of being slow to respond to such moves.

He ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons, but emphasised that Russian Federation will not deploy them in the European part of the country or elsewhere unless the USA does so.

"We have repeatedly, during a number of years, and constantly raised a question about substantiative talks on the disarmament issue", Putin said.

President Donald Trump said Friday that Washington was suspending its obligations under the INF treaty and starting a process to withdraw in six months.

The row over the treaty has drawn a strong reaction from Europe and China.

"The character and the timing of the works provide an irrefutable proof that the USA administration had chose to pull out of the INF treaty years before making unfounded claims of Russian violations", it said.

Speaking Saturday in a televised meeting with his foreign and defense ministers, Putin instructed the military to work on developing new land-based weapons that were previously forbidden by the INF treaty.

"We will wait until our partners have matured enough to conduct an equal, meaningful dialogue with us on this important topic", the president said.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russian Federation will follow in the footsteps of the United States and abandon a centrepiece nuclear arms treaty.

"Russia will not station intermediate-range weapons in Europe or other regions until similar US weapons appear in those regions", he said.

He has previously warned of proliferation of weapons but on Saturday told the ministers Russian Federation would "not be drawn into a costly new arms race".

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