Russia has warned that Donald Trump’s plans to develop new ballistic missiles after the United States quits a landmark arms control pact were "extremely dangerous".
The US intends to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the US President has said the country will develop new intermediate-range missiles – unless Russia and China agree to halt development of their own.
It has sparked fears of a fresh arms race, and the possibility of US weapons being stationed in Europe.
"It’s an extremely dangerous intention," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Trump’s comments when asked about them by reporters on a conference call.
"It will make the world more dangerous."
The treaty was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
The US leader said Moscow has violated terms of the treaty that prohibit the US and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.
The treaty’s demise could raise the prospect of a new arms race and of Europe once again hosting U.S. land-based ballistic and cruise missiles, something that would make it a target for Moscow.
Gorbachev, now 87, has warned that unravelling it could have catastrophic consequences.
But Trump’s moved has been backed by British officials.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson blamed Moscow for endangering the INF Treaty and called on the Kremlin to “get its house in order”.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said yesterday a formal notification of the US withdrawal from the treaty will be filed in due course.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bolton noted that when Washington withdrew from another arms control treaty in the past, it was a process that took several months.
Russia and the United States have discussed the possibility of President Vladimir Putin visiting Washington next year, Peskov said on Wednesday.
Peskov said that such a possibility was briefly touched upon during a visit by Bolton to Moscow this week.
International relations expert Remi Piet told France24 that the move raises fears of a new arms race.
He said: “Clearly, it is opening up to an additional and faster weapons race across the world and who is going to suffer for it – it is Yemen or different countries where those missiles are being used and sold by the US or sold by others countries.
“So we’re moving away from multilateral positions of reduction of weapons globally and instead we’re a world of countries arming and developing more and more weapons at the expense of civilians worldwide."
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