During the Big Game program on Channel One, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov spoke about the possible consequences of the withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF).
“The thing is that the withdrawal from the INF Treaty may potentially entail the deployment of short-and medium-range missiles in Europe, as was during the Cold War. The deployment of those missiles there and the possibility of them being aimed at Russia would lead to a situation in which Russia will have to target its missiles at them to create parity,” TASS quoted Peskov as saying. According to the press secretary, this is exactly what Vladimir Putin meant at the press conference on December 20.
At the press conference, Putin answered the question about the threat of nuclear war. Putin called the withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty a new attempt to start an arms race. At the same time, the president said that the Kremlin is not seeking any advantages for Russia. “We keep the balance and ensure our security,” he said.
On December 17, Sergei Karakaev, Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, said that the Russian military was considering the possible deployment of the US medium-range missiles in Europe. He said that, to respond to this situation, the Defense Ministry expects to receive up to 100 new types of weapons by 2018, including Yars stationary and mobile missile systems.
In October 2018, US President Donald Trump spoke about his intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1987. Washington states that this decision was due to the fact that Moscow develops missile systems that can launch a nuclear attack on European countries.
On December 4, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that the United States will stop following the provisions of the INF Treaty if Russia does not admit its violations and does not return to its obligations under the Treaty.