MOSCOW: Moscow will match any US move to deploy new nuclear missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
Putin said Russia was not seeking confrontation and would not take the first step to deploy missiles in response to Washington’s decision this month to quit a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty.
But in his toughest remarks yet on a potential new arms race, he said Russia’s reaction to any deployment would be resolute and that US policymakers, some of whom he accused of being obsessed with US exceptionalism, should calculate the risks before taking any steps.
“It’s their right to think how they want. But can they count? I’m sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing,” Putin told Russia’s political elite to strong applause.
“Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centres of decision-making are located,” he said.