Putin Says Russia Will Spy On U.S. To Match Missile Development (#GotBitcoin?)
Leader sets out retaliatory measures after collapse of Cold War weapons treaty. Putin Says Russia Will Spy On U.S. To Match Missile Development (#GotBitcoin?)
President Vladimir Putin ordered an increase in Russian spying on U.S. development of short- and intermediate-range missiles and said Moscow would match any the U.S. builds, after the collapse of a treaty that outlawed the weapons.
The statement was the furthest-reaching response from the Kremlin to the end of the Cold War-era Intermediate and Medium-range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Washington and Moscow. Washington withdrew from the treaty last week, letting it lapse after accusing Moscow of violating the pact.
Russia pulled out in response, and has leveled its own accusations at Washington. Mr. Putin has raised the prospect of a new arms race.
Statements Monday by Mr. Putin and Russia’s deputy foreign minister provided the clearest blow-by-blow measures Moscow plans in retaliation if Washington develops or deploys the missiles once forbidden by the agreement.
“I instruct the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service to monitor in the most thorough manner future steps taken by the United States,” said Mr. Putin’s statement on the Kremlin website.
Pentagon officials in March said they planned two intermediate-range missiles: a ground-launched variant of the Navy’s Tomahawk sea-based cruise missile and a new ballistic missile to be developed by the Army.
The Pentagon generally has been open about its development plans. The new U.S. systems will be nonnuclear and no decisions on where to base them have been made. The effort to field the weapons will also take time. Much of the Pentagon’s focus is on countering China.
Col. John Rafferty, who is overseeing the Army’s efforts to develop a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, told reporters last month that the goal was to field the system in 2023. The first flight tests will take place in November and December.
A parallel effort is being made to develop a ground-launched variant of the Navy’s sea-launched cruise missile.
“I would prefer months,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week, “but these things tend to take longer than you expect.”
John Bolton, national security adviser to President Trump, has said a long-range nuclear-arms treaty would likely not be extended. putting strategic stability in doubt.
Mr. Putin promised full-scale development of any missiles the U.S. makes, and said any new steps would be only in retaliation for actions taken by Washington—though U.S. officials say Russia has already deployed several battalions with missiles that violate the INF range, including some that can reach Western Europe.
“Until the Russian army deploys these weapons, Russia will reliably offset the threats…by relying on the means that we already have,” he said, referring to the air-launched Kinzhal cruise missile and sea-launched Kalibr cruise missile. He also repeated suggestions that he was open to new arms talks with the U.S.
The statement maintained Russia’s assertions it hasn’t been in violation of the INF treaty, while blaming the breakdown of the treaty on the U.S.
The U.S. decision has been treated in the Russian media as a unilateral step inspired only by the U.S.’s desire to ramp up its arms industry in response to a growing threat from China, which isn’t covered by the treaty.
The U.S. says Russia has already developed a missile with a range that falls in the 300-3,400 mile distance outlawed under the agreement, which was signed in 1987 by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
This year, Western officials said Russia had deployed four battalions armed with nearly 100 of the missiles, some in range of Western Europe. Russia denies that it has developed a missile in violation of the treaty.
Russian deployments of short and intermediate range missiles will be determined in response to where the U.S. bases its missiles if Washington goes through with deployment, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.
Mr. Ryabkov has previously said, according to Russian news reports, that any U.S. deployments of such missiles in Europe, which could potentially target Russia, would cause Moscow to deploy short and medium-range weapons in the country’s Far East where they could reach the West Coast of the U.S. in retaliation.
Russia’s nearly decadelong military modernization has led to a cache of new weapons available for deployment, including the Kalibr, which was tested in Syria, and the Kinzhal. But Russia’s sclerotic economic growth in recent years has forced budget constraints and may have hit mass production of the arms, analysts have said. That could constrain Moscow’s ability for future production. Putin Says Russia Will,Putin Says Russia Will