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Putin: We'll Target US With Missiles If We Have To

Russian leader says he's at the ready, but only if US deploys first anywhere in Europe
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 9:04 AM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address in Moscow on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Newser) – Vladimir Putin is seemingly following DC's lead of late, first by announcing that Russia will, like the US, pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and now by threatening another mirroring. The Russian leader gave his annual speech, akin to the State of the Union, to the nation Wednesday, and he dropped a warning to the US: If you deploy missiles anywhere in Europe, we'll not only target those countries, but also America. "Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision-making are located," he said, per Reuters. "We know how to do this and we will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the corresponding threats to us become a reality."

Putin stressed that Russia would only deploy if the US did first, but that the US should watch its step. "It's their right to think how they want," he added. "But can they count? I'm sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing." To underscore his warning, Putin took the opportunity to throw in that testing for two new missiles has been completed, per the Washington Post. Putin ended his speech by noting he hoped to keep the arms conversations going with the US, but that Russia "would not keep knocking on a locked door," per CNBC. The US and Russia have a six-month period in which they can try to hash out the terms of the INF Treaty before making a final pullout. (Putin has been bragging about Russia's new hypersonic weapon.)

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