The United States has dismissed comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow would match any US move to deploy new nuclear missiles closer to Russia as propaganda designed to divert attention from alleged Russian violations of an arms control treaty.
“President Putin’s remarks are a continuation of Russia’s propaganda effort to avoid responsibility for Russia’s actions in violation of the INF (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) Treaty,” a US State Department spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity on Wednesday.
The United States on February 1 said it will withdraw from the INF in six months unless Moscow ends its alleged violations of the 1987 arms control pact.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Putin said Russia would match any US moves to deploy nuclear weapons in Europe by stationing its own missiles closer to the US or by deploying faster missiles, or both.
“Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centres of decision-making are located,” he told Russia’s political elite in a speech.