Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to monitor US actions in terms of deploying short and medium-range missiles previously banned by the INF Treaty in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions during his speech at a Russian Defence Ministry meeting.
"This year, the US essentially destroyed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and that's why we need to monitor possible deployments of such missiles around the world", the president said.
The Russian president expressed his concern at the "degradation" of the global arms control system, adding that the US decision to pull out of the INF Treaty in 2019 was not the only matter that contributed to this. He added that this process is unfolding place amid the continuing growth of the US global anti-missile defence system.
Putin further said that Russia needs to ensure an effective deterrence against aggression directed at itself or its allies. The president also stated that the country will continue to boost its nuclear forces until new talks on arms control have begun. He added that Moscow is ready for such talks, reiterating the Kremlin's calls for the US to negotiate prolonging the New START Treaty.
US Withdrawal From INF Treaty
Washington first raised issue of terminating its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty back in 2018, when it accused Russia of building a missile violating it. While Washington failed to present any evidence to support the claims, Moscow presented the missile in question in a briefing for press and other governments, which was ignored by the US.
Using the unfounded accusations as a pretext, the White House announced the US withdrawal from the INF on 2 February and formally completed the process on 2 August. Less than a month later, the American military tested a new missile that operates at ranges previously banned by the now defunct missile accord.
The latter led Moscow to believe that the pull-out was a planned action and that accusations of non-compliance against Russia were simply made up to serve as an excuse to do so. Despite this, the Kremlin has proposed that Washington avoid deploying missiles non-compliant with the INF near Russia's borders, promising not to deploy such missiles in return.