Will Putin ‘start’ arms race vs. EU? Calls to produce medium-range missiles

MOSCOW.- Russian President Vladimir Putin called this Friday to resume the production of medium-range missiles that were prohibited by a treaty with the United States, currently in disuse.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which banned land-based nuclear and conventional missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles), was considered a milestone in arms control when the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the American president Ronald Reagan They signed it in 1988.

The United States withdrew from the treaty in 2019, citing violations by Russia.

“We need to start production of those attack systems and then, based on the current situation, make decisions about where to place them, if necessary to ensure our security,” Putin said at a meeting of Russia’s national security council.

Putin said Russia has not produced such missiles since the treaty was withdrawn from in 2019, but that “currently, it is known that the United States not only produces such missile systems, but has already brought them to Europe — to Denmark — for exercises.” Very recently it was announced that they are in the Philippines”.

Since withdrawing from the treaty, the US military has made progress in developing a ground-launched medium-range conventional missile system, called Typhon, which would have been banned by the INF. The Typhon is capable of firing two types of US Navy missiles—the ground-attack missile Tomahawk and the standard missile 6.

The U.S. military tested the system in an exercise this spring in the Philippines.

The end of the INF was a major point in the deterioration of relations between the United States and Russia.

What arms control pacts do Washington and Moscow have?

The last arms control pact in force between Washington and Moscow is the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which limits the number of weapons deployed by each country to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads and 700 missiles and bombers. It expires in 2026, and the lack of talks to establish a successor agreement has worried proponents of the treaty. gun control.

Putin’s statement comes amid tensions between Russia and the West over the conflict in Ukraine, and concerns about possible nuclear attacks.

In June, Putin spoke to executives of international news organizations about Moscow’s use of nuclear weapons.

“We have a nuclear doctrine, let’s see what it says,” he said. “If someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we will consider using all means at our disposal. This should not be taken lightly or superficially.”