Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during the annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 20, 2019. The preliminary results of the implementation of Russia's national projects should be summed up in 2020, Putin said Wednesday. (Xinhua/Evgeny Sinitsyn)
MOSCOW, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Russia does not intend to be the first to place missiles in Europe but will develop its defense capacities and take reciprocal measures if the United States deploys missiles, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in his address to Russia's Federal Assembly.
"Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can be used not only against areas, from which a direct threat will emanate, but also against the centers making decisions on the use of missile systems that threaten us," Putin said.
Speaking about the intention of the United States to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Putin said that Washington has been violating the benchmark disarmament deal.
By launching intermediate-range missiles under the guise of "target missiles" and deploying launchers suitable for using Tomahawk cruise missiles in Romania and Poland, the United States violates the requirements of the treaty "directly and grossly," Putin said.
This will dramatically aggravate the situation in the field of international security and create serious threats for Russia, because for some classes of these missiles the flight time to Moscow can be up to 10 minutes to 12 minutes, Putin said.
Russia therefore will be forced to respond both with "mirrored and asymmetric actions," he said.