MOSCOW (Dispatches) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to elaborate measures in response to the U.S. test of a missile previously banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"I instruct the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry as well as other relevant departments to analyze the level of threat caused by the U.S. action to our country and take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetrical response," Putin said at a Russian Security Council meeting.
"At the same time, Russia is still open to equal and constructive dialogue with the United States to restore confidence and strengthen international security," Putin added, according to a Kremlin transcript.
Last Sunday, the United States test-launched a ground-based cruise missile, which hit a target at a distance of over 500km.
This happened after the INF Treaty officially collapsed on Aug. 2 with the withdrawal of the United States and Russia from the landmark arms-control pact following mutual accusations of violations.
The INF Treaty, which was signed by Washington and Moscow in 1987, banned the United States and Russia from owning or developing land-based missiles with a range of 500 km to 5,500 km.
Putin said the U.S. test launch took place only 16 days after the termination of the treaty initiated by Washington, which proved that "the United States has long been engaged in the creation of weapons prohibited by the INF Treaty."
He recalled that the United States had organized a propaganda campaign about Russia's allegedly non-compliance with the provisions of the treaty.
The only purpose of this campaign was to cover up the work carried out by Washington in violation of the treaty and its intention to withdraw from it, Putin said.
The true plans of Washington are to deploy previously forbidden missiles in various regions of the world, including in the Asia-Pacific region, which would affect Russia's fundamental interests, he said.
Russia has never wanted, does not want and will not get involved in a costly, destructive arms race with the United States, Putin said, adding that however, Russia is forced and obliged to ensure the security of its nation and people.