Putin: If mid-range missiles deployed in Europe, Russia will station arms to strike decision centers

If the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will respond by stationing weapons aimed not only against missiles themselves, but also at command and control centers, from which a launch order would come.

The warning came from President Vladimir Putin, who announced Russia’s planned actions after the US withdraws from the INF Treaty – a Cold War-era agreement between Washington and Moscow which banned both sides from having ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles and developing relevant technology.

The US is set to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty in six months, which opens the possibility of once again deploying these missiles in Europe. Russia would see that as a major threat and respond with its own deployments, Putin said.

Intermediate-range missiles were banned and removed from Europe because they would leave a very short window of opportunity for the other side to decide whether to fire in retaliation after detecting a launch – mere minutes. This poses the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange triggered by a false launch warning, with the officer in charge having no time to double check.

Read more Building Avangard hypersonic glider was like launching world’s 1st artificial satellite – Putin

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come.” The Russian president, who was delivering a keynote address to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, did not elaborate on whether any counter-deployment would only target US command-and-control sites in Europe or would also include targets on American soil.

He did say the Russian weapon system in terms of flight times and other specifications would “correspond” to those targeting Russia.

“We know how to do it and we will implement those plans without a delay once the relevant threats against us materialize,” he said.

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Russia will easily design new missiles to defend itself if US pulls out of INF – Putin

Russia may easily respond to the US withdrawal from the milestone INF Treaty by developing new types of land-based missiles, Vladimir Putin said, warning that Washington's decision to pull out “is one step towards an arms race.”

The Russian president reiterated that Moscow did not violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), but if Washington ditches it, Russia will be left with no choice but “to react accordingly” to defend itself. 

 
FILE PHOTO RT-21M Pioneer missile and launcher © Wikipedia

“As you know, we do have sea and airborne [missile] systems and there will be no difficulty to carry out research-and-development and make them land-based if needed,” Putin told a Defense Ministry conference on Tuesday.

Russia’s successes in developing sea- and air-launched missiles became a source of concern for “our partners,” prompting them to undermine the treaty. Putin had also praised Russia’s newest Kalibr cruise missiles which saw action against terrorists in Syria.

Over the past months, Washington has been repeatedly accusing Russia of violating the INF. Moscow, for its part, denied such accusations calling them unfounded.

But, Putin said, the US is violating the INF directly, as it’s actively building up Aegis Ashore facilities in Romania and Poland. Meanwhile, there are strike drones in the US military arsenals whose properties fall under the treaty.

They blatantly violate it and make hypothetical, unfounded claims against us.

The Russian president noted that the US and Russia – two signatories to the treaty – are not the only countries to possess short- and intermediate-range missiles. “There are plenty of them … why don’t they [the US] engage these countries?”

Putin believes they don’t do it “simply because it apparently hampers certain aspirations and these aspirations are unlikely to be peaceful ones,” while the US pullout “is one step towards an arms race.”

Also on rt.com A new arms race has begun – Gorbachev on Trump's INF pullout plan

He also reminded the conference that the US military is profiting from a record $725-billion “militarist budget” that dwarfs Russia’s annual defense spending worth $46 billion.

Earlier Putin suggested the US planned their withdrawal beforehand. Notably, the Congress authorized funding an effort to build new missile systems “before Washington announced withdrawal from the INF. The decision had been made some time ago, but quietly – they thought we wouldn’t notice it.”

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Putin says Russia will retaliate if U.S. quits nuclear missile treaty: agencies

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday the Kremlin would retaliate if the United States withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, Russian news agencies reported.

Putin discussed possible Russian retaliation with top Russian Defence Ministry officials and added that the Kremlin was ready to discuss the INF treaty with Washington.

The Cold War-era treaty, which rid Europe of land-based nuclear missiles, has come into question against a backdrop of renewed tensions between the West and Russia, most notably over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and role in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has accused Russia of non-compliance with the 31-year-old missile accord and warned it will pull out of the deal as a result. The Kremlin denies violating the pact.

NATO and Russian envoy addressed the dispute during rare talks on Oct. 31, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urging Moscow to make quick changes to comply in full with the treaty. He said Russia’s development of the land-based, intermediate-range SSC-8 cruise missile posed “a serious risk to strategic stability”.

European leaders worry any collapse of the INF treaty could lead to a new, destabilizing arms race.

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Putin: Russia wants dialogue with U.S. on missile treaty - agencies

PARIS (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday Moscow wanted to restore a full-scale dialogue with the United States about the landmark Cold War-era missile treaty, Russian news agencies reported.

President Donald Trump said last month Washington would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because Russia was violating the pact, bringing a warning of retaliatory measures from Moscow.

Putin, speaking to Kremlin-backed RT France television, said he could meet Trump on the sidelines of a G-20 summit in Argentina, according to the agencies.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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Putin suggests meeting with Trump in Paris on November 11

The Russian President has suggested he could meet Donald Trump in Paris in early November at an event commemorating the end of the First World War. It was mentioned in talks with US National Security Advisor John Bolton in Moscow.

 

It would be helpful to continue a direct dialog with the US president on the sidelines of international events that are scheduled to take place in the near future, in Paris, for example,” Putin told Bolton during a meeting in the Kremlin as he spoke about his potential talks with Trump.

Putin referred to an event marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the WWI, which is expected to take place in Paris on November 11.

Bolton, in turn, told Putin that the US president “would be glad” to meet him in Paris. He also agreed that Moscow and Washington should continue dialog.

Putin praised his last meeting with Trump, which took place in Helsinki on July 16. It was “useful, partially tough … but eventually constructive”  he said adding that he does not understand why the summit was met with such a negative reaction in the US. “It is startling to see that the US is taking absolutely unprovoked steps against Russia, which we cannot call friendly,” he said.

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Russia Warns NATO Against Provoking Third World War

Members of the NATO-Russia Council have only met three times in the last two years and when they have, NATO focuses strictly on Ukraine.

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to avoid taking steps that may lead to a third World War.

RELATED: Lavrov: US Trying to Establish Mini-State in Syria

Lavrov was unequivocal about the prospects of war, “I believe everyone will be wise enough to prevent that. However, we are certainly very much concerned about the total absence of any professional dialogue between the Russian military and NATO.”

Members of the NATO-Russia Council have only met three times in the last two years and when they have, NATO focuses strictly on Ukraine and “attempts were made to use the NATO-Russia Council as another tool to blame all mortal sins on us, and another way of satisfying the whims of our Ukrainian neighbors who dream of sanctions being endlessly perpetuated and want nothing more than Russia to always be subject to intense criticisms.”

United States' influence over NATO is a factor that Russia considers to be a determinant in the organization’s behavior. “So, look at this situation. I believe it is absurd to remain hostage to US legislator’s whims,” the minister added.

Lavrov's statement comes at a time when there have been military accidents in the region — such as the accidental shooting of a missile by a Spanish fighter jet in Estonia due to NATO activities — in addition to NATO member countries' intention to hold naval drills in the Sea of Azov bordering Russia’s eastern coast, which according to Lavrov, would require the Federation’s permission.

In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the United States is making the colossal mistake of countries that treat themselves as "empires," by imposing sanctions on countries around the world.

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Putin compares Khashoggi case to Skripal poisoning, asks why Russia condemned despite lack of proof

Russian President Vladimir Putin has contrasted the world’s response to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with its response to the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, citing lack of proof in both cases.

Speaking at the annual Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Putin said that despite a lack of evidence proving Russian involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March, punitive actions were immediately taken against Moscow. In contrast, he said, that did not happen with Riyadh following Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“There’s no proof in regards to Russia, but steps are taken. Here, people say that a murder happened in Istanbul, but no steps are taken. People need to figure out a single approach to these kinds of problems,” Putin said.

Khashoggi, a journalist who wrote columns that were critical of the Saudi kingdom for the Washington Post, disappeared on October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his planned marriage to a Turkish citizen.

Despite Turkish authorities pinning the blame for Khashoggi’s alleged murder on Riyadh – claiming to have video and audio proof to back it up – the US has been reluctant to point the finger at the Saudis. US President Donald Trump even floated the theory that perhaps “rogue killers” were responsible for the journalist’s disappearance. No such alternative explanations were offered following the Skripals’ poisoning.

Asked whether Moscow would respond to the Khashoggi disappearance, Putin said Russia still did not have enough details to take any action. “Why do we need to take some steps towards the deterioration of our relations if we don’t understand what is happening? But if someone understands and someone believes that the murder occurred, then I hope that some evidence will be provided,” he said.

Trump has been accused by numerous analysts, journalists and politicians of advocating for Riyadh in order to protect the US’ financially beneficial relationship with the Gulf nation. Many have cited Trump’s business ties with Saudis dating back decades.

Trump & Saudi Business: •1991: Sold yacht to Saudi Prince •2001: Sold 45th floor of Trump World Tower to Saudis •Jun 2015: I love the Saudis...many in Trump Tower •Aug 2015: "They buy apartments from me...Spend $40M-$50M" •2017: Saudi lobbyists spent $270K at Trump DC hotel

On the day that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Riyadh to discuss the Khashoggi case, $100 million was transferred to the State Department by Saudi Arabia – part of a long-planned contribution to help stabilize newly liberated regions of Syria. The US, however, denied that the timing of the transfer had anything to do with the diplomatic incident over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Turkish sources have leaked information to the press, including details from an alleged recording made of Khashoggi’s murder, during which Saudi forensics expert Saleh al-Tubaiqi allegedly dismembered the journalist’s body while his colleagues listened to music.

Saudi Arabia has denied claims of involvement. Trump has cast doubt over the existence of the tape, and said he plans to have a discussion with Pompeo following his fact-finding trip to Riyadh and Istanbul earlier this week.

READ MORE: ‘Sawed while still alive’? Gruesome ‘taped’ details of Khashoggi’s alleged murder cause media stir

When the Skripals were poisoned in the English town of Salisbury in March, British intelligence agencies swiftly accused the Kremlin of being responsible and sanctions were slapped on Moscow. British Prime Minister Theresa May led a chorus of international condemnation, expelling 23 Russian diplomats from the country and convincing the US and a slew of European countries to follow suit.

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After nuclear holocaust, we’ll go to heaven as martyrs; attackers will die as sinners – Putin

If any nation decides to attack Russia with nuclear weapons, it may end life on Earth; but unlike the aggressors, the Russians are sure to go to heaven, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent,” Putin said during a session of the Valdai Club in Sochi.

He added that Russia’s nuclear forces are not tailored for a pre-emptive strike, and exist as a second-strike capability meant to deter an attack by a foreign nation.

The Russian nuclear doctrine allows for the use of this weapon in a conventional conflict, but only if Russia’s existence is at stake. This presumably gives the Russian military a loophole to use tactical nuclear weapons in the case of a large-scale invasion. The self-imposed restrictions are less harsh than a complete ‘no-first-use’ pledge, which was dropped by Moscow in 1993.

The US’ latest nuclear posture review says that Washington may use nuclear weapons in response to a non-nuclear attack on itself or its allies. It remains vague about the exact circumstances that may trigger such an action. This gave rise to speculation that even a cyberattack may permit a nuclear response. Meanwhile, a call for the creation of small-yield submarine-launched missiles and nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missiles have only added to concerns that the US is stocking up for some kind of large-scale conflict.

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