Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinMore than 50 dead, one rescued in Russian mine explosion NATO to discuss ways to deter Russia: Lithuanian official Putin says he took experimental nasal COVID-19 vaccine MORE on Monday called for arms talks with the U.S., saying Moscow would only deploy new intermediate-range missiles if Washington does as well.
“If we receive reliable information that the U.S. has completed the development and launched production of the relevant systems, Russia will have to engage in full-scale development of similar missiles,” Putin said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
“In order to avoid chaos without any rules, restrictions and laws, it’s necessary to weigh all the dangerous consequences and start a serious dialogue without any ambiguities,” he added. “Russia considers it necessary to resume full-fledged talks on strategic stability and security without any delay.”
Putin's statement comes just days after the U.S. formally exited the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a decades-old arms pact with Russia credited with helping end the Cold War.
The INF treaty had banned nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles. The original ban between Moscow and Washington resulted in 2,692 missiles being destroyed.
The U.S. has blamed Russia for violating the now-defunct treaty since 2014, a claim Moscow denies.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Major Russia weapons test stokes tensions Three key behind-the-scenes figures in Jan. 6 probe Trump Defense chief blocked idea to send 250,000 troops to border: report MORE said he was interested in deploying intermediate-range missiles in Asia soon.
Putin reiterated Monday that Russia would not deploy missiles unless the U.S. places them in range of the country.
“Our actions related to the development, production and deployment of ground-based intermediate-range missiles will be exclusively reciprocal and mirrored,” he said, per AP. “We will not deploy them until the U.S.-made intermediate-range missiles are deployed” in areas where they may threaten Russia.
Esper did not clarify where in Asia the U.S. is considering placing missiles.