Putin orders ‘reciprocal response’ after US tested ground-launched cruise missile

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a briefing session with permanent members of Russia Security Council on August 23 instructed the Russian Defence Ministry, Foreign Ministry and other competent agencies to analyse the level of threat posed by recent United States actions and take exhaustive measures for a reciprocal response.

US Department of Defense photo

This is after United States said it conducted a flight test of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California on August 18. 

“The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities,” the US Department of Defense said.

Puting said “the fact that stands out is that the testing of a missile with the characteristics prohibited under this Treaty took place only 16 days after the Washington’s denunciation of the Treaty.”

“Clearly, the test was not an improvisation but another link in the chain of long-planned measures that were taken in the past,” the Russian leader added.

He added that “even in prior years, we were aware that the United States had long been developing the weapons banned by the INF Treaty. We repeatedly informed our partners about that.”

“But instead of rectifying this unacceptable situation and getting back to observing the Treaty, the Americans orchestrated a propaganda campaign claiming that Russia is in breach,” Putin said.

Russian President Putin said the recent US’ actions show US’ true intentions that “once the previous restrictions are removed, they will be free to deploy previously banned missiles in various regions of the world.”

“High-ranking US politicians are claiming that the deployment of new arms systems may start in the Asia-Pacific region, which is also affecting our vital interests because they will be close to the Russian border,” he noted

Putin added that Russia never wanted and will never “be dragged into a cost-intensive arms race that would be destructive for our economy.”

“Development of our new and truly unique advanced weapons was triggered and, in a manner of speaking, provoked by the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2003. We were simply forced and even obligated to enhance the security of our nation. We are doing it now and will continue to do that in the future, there is no question about it,” he said.

“At the same time, considering the new circumstances, I instruct the Defence Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and other competent agencies to analyse the level of threat posed to our country by the above actions of the United States, and take exhaustive measures for a reciprocal response,” he added.

However, Putin said “Russia remains open to an equal and constructive dialogue with the United States aimed at restoring trust and strengthening international security.”