Putin wants new arms talks with US to avoid ‘chaos’

A Titan II nuclear missile

A Titan II nuclear missile

Russian Federation said on Monday it would take measures to defend itself if the United States stationed missiles in Asia following the collapse of a landmark arms control treaty and that it expected Japan to deploy a new US missile launch system.

"In order to avoid chaos without any rules, restrictions and laws, it's necessary to weigh all the unsafe consequences and start a serious dialogue without any ambiguities", Putin said.

"If Russia obtains reliable information whereby the United States completes the development of these systems and starts to produce them, Russia will have no option other than to engage in a full-scale effort to develop similar missiles", Putin said in a statement on August 5.

Moscow has blamed Washington for unilaterally ending the 1987 treaty which was signed by U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Officials from President Donald Trump's administration, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Russia has deployed "multiple battalions" of a cruise missile throughout Russia in violation of the defunct pact, including in western Russia, "with the ability to strike critical European targets".

"Our actions related to the development, production and deployment of ground-based intermediate-range missiles will be exclusively reciprocal and mirrored", he said. According to the president, the INF's collapse will nearly certainly lead to the "resumption of an unchecked arms race".

But he said it was essential for Moscow and Washington, the world's largest nuclear powers, to resume arms control talks to prevent what he described as an "unfettered" arms race breaking out.

"Right now, we don't have plans to build nuclear-tipped INF range weapons", he said.

The INF treaty was considered a cornerstone of global arms control architecture, but Washington has long called it obsolete due to non-signatories like China being free to develop their own weapons.

In a statement, the Russian leader said that the end of the nuclear agreement "seriously exacerbated the situation in the world and created fundamental risks for everyone".

Washington launched a six-month withdrawal procedure for leaving the treaty in February, and Moscow followed soon after.

According to the Russian president, potential threats arising from the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty will be countered by Russian missile and cruise missile systems including the Kh-101, the Kinzhal, the Kalibr and the prospective Zircon hypersonic missile. Russian Federation will only act if the United States proceeds with actually designing this weaponry, according to Putin.

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