Vladimir Putin threatened the United States, essentially with nuclear war, if the U.S. military deploys missiles to Europe, NBC News is reporting.
Giving his annual address to the Russian parliament, Putin spoke to his country’s lawmakers about the new reality facing Russia, Europe at large, and the United States in the wake of the dissolution of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, in early February Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the Reagan-era treaty, which eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, with ranges of 310 to 620 miles (500 to 1,000 kilometers) for short-range missiles and 620 to 3,420 miles (1,000 to 5,500 km) for intermediate-range missiles.
The Trump administration has, since October 2018, been saying that Russia is in violation of the treaty and that the U.S. should withdraw in kind.
Putin says that if any such missiles wind up in Europe — within range of Russian interests and Russia itself — Russia will respond with missiles of its own. And they won’t be aimed at U.S. interests in Europe, but rather, the U.S. mainland. Specifically, says Putin, they’ll be aimed at “decision-making centers” in the U.S.
“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 centers of decision-making are located.”
It’s unclear what he means by “decision-making centers.”
Putin also promised that Russia would not be the aggressor in any confrontation between them and the U.S., nor would they “take the first step” in deploying missiles. He also promised that Russia will not be dragged into a “costly arms race.”
But, should it come to it, Russia has long-range nuclear missiles in the works, and Putin won’t be afraid to use them.
“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.”
As for the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Putin claimed that the premise on which Trump pulled the U.S. out of the treaty – that Russia had been violating it by continuing to develop banned weapons – was false.
Further, Putin promised that Russia would be open to further talks on arms control.
As of this writing, the Trump administration has not responded to Putin’s remarks.