President Vladimir Putin says Russia will target new weapons at the United States should it deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Europe following Washington’s withdrawal from a key arms control pact.
Putin, speaking in Wednesday’s state-of-the-nation address, rejected the U.S. claim that its withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty was prompted by Russian violations of the pact. He charged that the U.S. made false accusations against Russia to justify its decision to opt out of the pact.
Putin reaffirmed that Russia will not be the first to deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Europe, but warned that it will retaliate if the U.S. puts such missiles on the continent. He said it will not only target the host countries, but field new weapons that will target U.S. decision-making centers.