Russia warns of response to ‘restore balance’ if US withdraws from missile treaty

Russia warns of response to ‘restore balance’ if US withdraws from missile treaty
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The Kremlin said Monday that Russia would move to develop new missiles if the U.S. does the same after withdrawing from a landmark nuclear weapons pact.

Reuters reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia would take action to restore the balance of military power if the U.S. started to develop intermediate nuclear weapons after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE announced the country will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

"This is a question of strategic security. Such measures can make the world more dangerous," Peskov said, according to the news service.

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"It means that the United States is not disguising, but is openly starting to develop these systems in the future, and if these systems are being developed, then actions are necessary from other countries, in this case Russia, to restore balance in this sphere," Peskov added.

The spokesman said the treaty, and Trump's decision to withdraw, will be a subject of discussion when national security adviser John Bolton visits Russia this week.

Trump confirmed to reporters on Saturday that the U.S. would no longer be part of the INF treaty, which was established during the Reagan administration. The agreement prevents the U.S. and Russia from possessing or testing ground-based nuclear missiles with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

U.S. officials have said Russia is in violation of the treaty, a charge Russia denies.

A top Russian official said Sunday that U.S. plans to withdraw from the agreement amount to blackmail, calling it a "dangerous" step.