Putin approves creation of hypersonic missile amid US withdrawal from INF Treaty

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MOSCOW, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with the Defense Ministry’s proposal on the creation of a medium-range ground-based hypersonic missile, as well as the launch of ground launchers for Kalibr missiles.

“I agree with the proposals of the Ministry of Defense on the start of work on the creation of ground launch systems for Kalibr and on the opening of a new direction – the creation of a medium-range hypersonic ground-based missile,” Putin said during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The statement by the Russian president comes after the statement by US President Donald Trump that the United States will abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on February 2.

In response to the statement, the Russian president said that Russia will respond symmetrically to the US exit from the treaty.

“We will do the following: Our response will be mirrored: US partners have announced that they suspend their participation in the [INF] Treaty, we will also suspend it,” he said.

Franz Klintsevich, deputy head of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Senate, commented on the statement by the Russian president.

“This is a very complicated process, but we have many developments, including Soviet missiles, and I believe that in the near future, such missiles can be created,” Klintsevich said.

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He said the US and Europe already have similar missiles.

Putin ordered that talks on the treaty be abandoned.

“All our proposals in this area [limiting medium- and short-range missiles], as before, remain at the table, the doors to the talks are open,” he said.

“I urge the two ministries not to start any further talks on this issue,” said the Russian leader, suggesting to “wait until our partners are ready to have with us a dialogue between equals on this very important issue, both for us, as for our partners, as for the whole world.”

Putin also stressed that Russia will not engage in an arms race that is disadvantageous for her.

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