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If US Deploys Missiles in Europe, Russia May Target Them – Kremlin on INF Exit

© AP Photo / US NAVYA Tomahawk cruise missile is seen emerging from the ocean after being launched from the USS Florida.
A Tomahawk cruise missile is seen emerging from the ocean after being launched from the USS Florida. - Sputnik International
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Speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference on 20 December, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of an increasing tendency to underestimate the threat of a nuclear war in the world.

Commenting on President Vladimir Putin’s remarks about a nuclear war scenario, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that after the United States withdraws from the  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Washington may deploy its missiles in Europe.

“Technically, the president meant what he has repeatedly explained. The thing is that the deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles in European countries, just as it was during the Cold War, could potentially be behind the [US’] withdrawal from the INF Treaty. The deployment of these missiles there and their potential aiming at the Russian Federation would lead to a situation where Russia would draw a bead on these launchers with its missile arsenal in order to create parity", he said.

Peskov added that this would result in "the development of the situation in a spiral pattern and the repetition of the situation which we, unfortunately, have witnessed in the past".

READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: Putin Holds Annual Year-End Press Conference

During his year-end press conference that lasted almost four hours, President Vladimir Putin said that there was a trend of lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, which could lead to a global catastrophe.

The construction of the last of Russia’s nuclear-powered Borey-class submarines will not be affected by the current budget sequester, the director general of the Rubin design bureau said Tuesday - Sputnik International
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Tendency to Underestimate Threat of Global Nuclear War Growing – Putin
The president cited the “very dangerous” ideas of developing low-yield nuclear weapons and their tactical use, as well as creating ballistic non-nuclear missiles.

At the same time, he expressed hope that humankind “will have enough common sense and self-preservation not to drive the situation to extremes”.

In early December, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington would suspend its adherence to the INF treaty within 60 days unless Russia returned to full compliance of the agreement. Moscow, in turn, has consistently denied any violation of the 1987 accord, which prohibits ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km.

READ MORE: US Likely to Proceed With INF Pullout Even if UN Backs Treaty — Russian Envoy

Russia has also noted that the United States was deploying launchers for Tomahawk cruise missiles in Romania and Poland, which violated the treaty’s provisions.

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