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Putin Remarks, U.S. Tested Ground-Launched Cruise Missile Too Soon after End of INF Treaty

Aug. 22, 2019 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki where he met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö yesterday, addressed the U.S. cruise missile test for the second of three days.

“First of all, the Americans tested this missile too fast, too soon after they announced their withdrawal from the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] treaty. In this sense, we have grounds to believe that the work on this missile (on the ‘landing,’ as this is a sea missile) had begun long before they started searching for a pretext to withdraw from the treaty,”

he said, according to the Kremlin transcript. He reiterated that Russia will not deploy counterpart missiles “unless corresponding missile systems produced in the U.S. are deployed in a given region. We have not received any response from our American or European partners so far.” He stated that the test showed that “These missiles can be launched from existing launchers in Romania or ones that will soon be located in Poland.”

Putin also said that he agreed with Niinistö that there should be a dialogue on these issues. “We have no such dialogue so far,” he said. “We will take reciprocal steps regarding these actions. We made proposals on such a dialogue some time ago, but we will stick to our point of view: We are ready to discuss this with the Europeans and the Americans, but we will provide for Russia’s security.”

The implication of the U.S. cruise missile test was taken up at a session of the UN Security Council, this afternoon, but it was mainly characterized by the U.S. and Russian representatives trading accusations over who was responsible for the demise of the INF Treaty.

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