Moscow has done its homework: Russia will be least affected if US exit from INF treaty brings back arms race, Putin says
A renewed arms race between the US and Russia would be bad for the world but Moscow won’t be dragged into excessive military spending, as it has already developed next gen weapons of “unmatched” capabilities, Vladimir Putin said.
The Russian president discussed Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at a joint interview with RT Arabic, UAE-based Sky News Arabia and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya broadcasters.
I do understand the US concerns. While other countries are free to enhance their defenses, Russia and the US have tied their own hands with this treaty.
However, Putin pointed out that “it was not worth ruining the deal,” which helped the US and Russia by precluding the fielding in Europe of ground-based missiles with a range of between 500km and 5,500km, and which remained the cornerstone of security on that continent since 1987. “I believe there were other ways out of the situation,” he added.
The New START Treaty, which came into effect in 1994 and limits the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers possessed by the two countries, is the final element that could “prevent us from falling back into a full-scale arms race,” Putin warned.
That deal expires in 2021 and, “to make sure it is extended, we need to be working on it right now,” he said.
But if an arms race couldn’t ultimately be avoided, the President assured interviewers that “Russia will be the least affected party because… we already have the next generation of weapons, and these are unprecedented, with unmatched capabilities. We have done our homework. We do not need to rush now and can calmly think of what can be done next.”
An arms race is a bad thing, and it will not be good for the world. However, we will not be dragged into exorbitant budget-spending games.
The reason for Russia obtaining those state-of-the-art weapons, despite being only sixth globally in terms of military spending – behind the US, China, Saudi Arabia, UK, France and Japan, is “focused research on priority areas,” he explained.
Putin himself announced a range of futuristic Russian weapons last year and caused something of a frenzy in Western media. The headline toppers were the Avangard hypersonic glider and the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, which are said to be able to bypass any existing missile defense system.
Read the full interview here.
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