Vladimir Putin says Russia will target US if Washington puts missiles in Europe


MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin signalled Russia will aim new weapons at the US if it stations missiles in Europe after quitting a landmark Cold-War-era treaty, amid growing fears of a new arms race.

Still, the tone of Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation speech was less belligerent than a year ago, when he showed computer-graphics demonstrations of a series of new missiles and other high-tech weapons that appeared to target the US With its only graphic displays focused on economics, this year’s address was devoted primarily to pledges to improve living standards and boost welfare benefits.

Russia doesn’t plan to deploy missiles banned by the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that the US has said it plans to abandon, Putin said. But if the US does, “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,” he said.

The US and its allies are laying the groundwork to deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Europe for the first time since they were banned by the treaty. With a second pact covering nuclear weapons likely to expire in two years, the risks of confrontation are growing.


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