Putin: Russia not in breach of INF Treaty, if US break treaty Russia will too

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (not pictured) at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, Dec. 5, 2018. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHEMETOV/POOL

Moscow, Dec 5 (efe-epa).- Russia’s president on Wednesday said that if the United States were developing weapons in violation of a 1987 arms agreement aimed at eliminating intermediate and shorter-range missiles, then so would Russia.

After NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Monday accused Russia of jeopardizing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) established after the Cold War, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed media to say the US had already allocated funds for the development of the banned missiles.

Putin went on to say that Russia was against dissolving the agreement but that if it did collapse, Russia would adequately retaliate.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday gave Russia a 60-day ultimatum to stop the violation of the INF treaty and to eliminate the intermediate and shorter-range missiles from the Russian arsenal.

According to NATO, Russia has violated the treaty through the development of 9M729, a missile system which Russia claims falls 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) short in its reach for it to be breaching the INF treaty.

Putin said to press Wednesday that it seemed the US had had a change of heart; so much so, that it was intent on developing missiles that would violate the agreement between the two states.

«What would our response be?» Putin asked. «The answer is simple: we would too.»