Putin orders to prepare symmetric response to U.S. cruise missile’s test
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given instructions to analyze the threat level in the wake of the U.S. test of a new cruise missile modification and take measures for preparing a symmetric response, the Kremlin’s press office reported.
The Russian leader said this at a meeting with permanent members of Russia’s Security Council, which focused on this issue.
Putin stressed that Washington's use of the MK-41 launcher in missile testing on August 18 serves to confirm concerns expressed by the Russian side in recent months about potential U.S. violations of the INF.
"We have repeatedly pointed out that the deployment of such launchers by the US at its missile defence base in Romania, and their expected deployment in Poland in the near future are a direct and flagrant violation of the treaty on medium and short-range missiles," Putin said.
"The U.S. side stubbornly denied this, claiming that land-based MK-41s were supposedly unable to launch sea-based Tomahawk cruise missiles. Now, the fact of their violation is out in the open and impossible to dispute - they themselves have spoken about it," the Russian leader added.
According to him, in light of these facts, Russia cannot be certain about what kinds of systems - defensive or offensive, the US will deploy in Romania and Poland, with flight times between these sites and major Russian cities amounting to less than ten minutes.
The U.S. test on August 18, taking place just 16 days after the US completed its withdrawal from the INF on August 2, the Russian head of state noted. "It's obvious that this test was not an improvisation, but just the next link in a chain of events which were planned out and carried out earlier," he said.
Putin recalled that in the months ahead of the U.S. withdrawal from the INF, Washington "organised a propaganda campaign about Russia's alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the treaty. Now it is obvious to everyone that its only purpose was to cover up the work being carried out by the US side in violation of the treaty and to justify its initial desire to scrap it."
According to Putin, U.S. plans to deploy new ground-based intermediate-range missile systems, starting in the Asia-Pacific region, affects Russia's national security interests, given these systems' proximity to Russia's borders.
He stressed that Russia has never wanted, does not want and will not allow itself to get involved in an arms race, but will do what is necessary to ensure its security.
"Let me remind you that in terms of defence spending, Russia occupies a rather modest seventh place in the world after the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France and Japan," the Russian leader noted.