Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned the United States of retaliatory action if Washington deploys missiles in Europe, AP reported. Putin made the statement during his State of the Union address in the Russian Federal Assembly.
He insisted that Russia wants cordial relations with the United States and that his government is open for arms control talks with Washington. “We do not want a confrontation, particularly with such a global power as the US,” Putin said while ruling out the possibility of Russia initiating the negotiations.
He added that Russia will make not the first move in terms of missile deployment either, Bloomberg reported. In the event that the United States deploys intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, Putin said, “Russia will be forced to produce and deploy weapons that can be used not only against the territories from which we face this direct threat but also those where the decision is made to use these missiles.”
His statement follows the Donald Trump-led United States administration’s decision to withdraw from an arms agreement. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by then President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The deal involved the destruction of certain nuclear weapons by both countries. Trump, in October, had claimed that Russia had “not adhered to the spirit of that agreement or to the agreement itself”, but Moscow has warned that abandoning the treaty would be a major blow to global security.