Russian defense minister: 'We won't do anything' in Europe unless US places missiles there

Russian defense minister: 'We won't do anything' in Europe unless US places missiles there
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A top Russian official reportedly said Sunday that despite the Trump administration's withdrawal from a Soviet-era arms deal, Moscow has no plans to deploy new missiles as long as the U.S. does not.

“We still stick to that. Unless there are such systems in Europe (deployed by Washington), we won’t do anything there,” Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu told the Rossiya-24 TV channel, according to Reuters, which cited the Interfax news agency.

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The U.S. earlier this month withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, first signed in 1987 under President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, claiming Russia had broken the treaty by deploying a disallowed type of missile, which Russia has denied.

The agreement was intended to reduce the U.S. and the then-USSR’s ability to launch a nuclear strike without notice, banning any land-based missiles with a range of 310 to 3,400 miles, according to Reuters.

Shoigu's comment echoes remarks Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinTaliban travels to Moscow after Trump declares talks dead Russians tune out Vladimir Putin Democrats must engage foreign policy to preserve liberal world order MORE made earlier in the month after the U.S. announced its withdrawal.

“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.

“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.”