Donald Trump (L) and Vladimir Putin (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
MOSCOW - Russia will exit the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in six months as part of a symmetrical response to the United States' pullout, the Interfax news agency cited Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin said at the weekend that Russia had suspended the Cold War-era pact after Washington announced it would withdraw in six months unless Moscow ends what it says are violations of the 1987 pact.
Moscow denies it is violating the pact.
The United States announced on Friday it will withdraw from the INF treaty in six months unless Moscow ends what it says are violations of the 1987 pact.
It would reconsider its withdrawal if Russia came into compliance with the agreement, which bans both nations from stationing short- and intermediate-range land-based missiles in Europe. Russia denies violating the treaty.
On Saturday, Washington said it had formally notified Russia and other treaty parties of the United States' intent and suspended its obligations under the INF.
"The American partners have declared that they suspend their participation in the deal, we suspend it as well," Putin said during a televised meeting with foreign and defense ministers.
Putin said Russia will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic ones, and told ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, accusing the United States of being slow to respond to such moves
"We have repeatedly, during a number of years, and constantly raised a question about substantiative talks on the disarmament issue," Putin said. "We see that in the past few years the partners have not supported our initiatives."
The US. State Department said in a statement on Saturday that the United States could not be restricted by the treaty while Russia violated it.
"The United States has concluded that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the Treaty arising from Russia's continued noncompliance have jeopardized the United States' supreme interests," the statement said.
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