The unilateral US withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty has reopened the possibility of the United States positioning intermediate nuclear arms in Europe targeting Russia. This is of particular concern to Russian officials because NATO territory comes right up to the Russian border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was quick to warn the US away from taking such actions, saying Russia would not take the first step in deploying such missiles but would not hesitate to respond if the US starts putting nuclear arms in Europe.
Not only would the host countries be targeted, but Putin says that the US itself would be a target for Russia’s counter-deployments, with a focus on US “decision-making centers.” He said these centers are where the threat to Russia originates.
Putin added that new weapons will be developed to counter US threats, with faster missiles allowing them to have the time to reach targets that are “equivalent to the threats against Russia.”
Putin made the comments in his annual address to parliament, and in addition to increasing efforts to counter US military threats, he also promised a substantial increase in social spending, saying he could provides missiles and butter.
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