“We will respond quid pro quo,” Mr Putin said. “Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participation in the treaty and will do the same. They have announced they will conduct research and development, and we will act accordingly.”
The US has accused Russia of developing and deploying a cruise missile that violates provisions of the pact that ban production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres (310 to 3,410 miles).
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the treaty would terminate in six months unless Russia accepts U.S. demands that it verifiably destroy the cruise missiles that Washington claims are in violation. NATO allies have strongly backed Washington and urged Moscow to save the treaty by returning to compliance.
But Russia has categorically rejected the US claims of violation, charging that the missile, which is part of the Iskander-M missile system, has a maximum range of 480 kilometres (298 miles). Russian officials claimed that the U.S. assertions about the alleged breach of the pact by Moscow were intended to shift the blame for the pact’s demise to Russia.
Mr Putin has argued that it makes no sense for Russia to deploy a ground-based cruise missile violating the treaty because it has such weapons on ships and aircraft, which aren’t banned by the pact.