Russia must develop new missile systems in response to US withdrawal from treaty, minister says

Moscow’s top minister said Russia must build a new land-based cruise missile and a new land-based hypersonic missile by 2021 in response to the U.S. withdrawal from a major arms-control treaty with the country.

The minister’s call to arms came just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcedthat the U.S. is pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, or INF, citing alleged violations by Russia.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was cited by RIA news agency on Tuesday as ordering the military to begin developing the new missile systems and make sure the technology works by 2021, Reuters reported.

“We will respond quid pro quo,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said as he announced the suspension of the INF treaty. “Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participation in the treaty, and we will do the same. They have announced they will conduct research and development, and we will act accordingly.”

Pompeo accused Russia of developing and deploying a cruise missile that violates provisions of the pact that bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 310 to 3,410 miles.

Unlike the Kremlin, the U.S. “has fully adhered” to the pact for more than 30 years, Pompeo said, “but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions. We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other.”

He gave six months Russia to become compliant and destroy the cruise missiles that Washington claims are in violation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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