Putin: Russia Will Attack Any Country That Launches US Missiles

Friday, 26 Oct, 2018

Washington is convinced that Russian Federation has violated a pivotal nuclear arms pact, citing it as the main reason for U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to dump it, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday during his visit to Moscow.

"On the coat of the arms of the United States there's an eagle holding 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other". Laughing merrily, Putin asked if the eagle ate all the olives.

Officials in Beijing angrily rejected the idea that China's missile programs should factor into Mr. Trump's INF decision, calling the USA position "blackmail".

Among NATO members, there is both "worry about Russian Federation ... and worry about Trump being trigger happy", Downman said.

Collin Koh, a maritime security specialist at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said reinstating ground-launched intermediate range missiles would give the U.S. a needed boost, not only for nuclear strikes but also conventional operations. The pact between Moscow and Washington bans an entire class of weapons - all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range from 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

Meanwhile, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg struck a conciliatory note on Wednesday, stating that the alliance is not considering deploying any more nuclear missiles in Europe in response to the alleged "Russia threat".

While concerned about Russia's new missile system, Stoltenberg pointed out that he does not expect a repeat of the so-called "Euromissiles crisis" in the 1980s when the United States deployed cruise missiles in Europe to counterbalance a perceived threat from Russia's SS-20 nuclear warheads.

"The INF is a landmark treaty, but the problem is that no treaty can be effective, can work, if it's only respected by one" side, Stoltenberg said, adding that the "US is in full compliance".

The Pentagon has the capability to build a new intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile within months after the Trump administration's decision to withdraw the United States from a bilateral arms control treaty with Russian Federation thanks to a little-known provision tucked into the 2017 defense authorization bill.

Bolton also said that China's cyberattacks against the United States made Russian Federation seem like the "junior partner".

"If all this is dismantled, then nothing will be left when it comes to limiting the increase in arms", Putin said at a news conference after talks in Moscow with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He warned that the USA will begin developing such weapons unless Russian Federation and China agree not to possess or develop them.

"The threat is not America's INF withdrawal from the treaty. In fact, it declares an intention to start an arms race and to build up military potential", Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday, adding that the decision would make the world a less safe place.

Bolton traveled to Moscow this week to deliver that message.

But Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is still conducting his investigation; for instance, his team and Trump's counsel reportedly have discussed the president submitting written answers to some questions.

"This is a Cold War bilateral ballistic missile-related treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world", Mr. Bolton said, adding that Washington has been weighing "the conceptual possibility of universalizing the treaty" - getting Beijing and others to sign - for more than a decade.

Putin accused the United States of violating the INF treaty which Trump has said Russian Federation is in breach of.

"In his first move, he engineered the horrifying USA withdrawal from the Iran anti-nuclear deal, over the screams of America's national security leaders and our European allies".

Bolton's visit to Moscow was his second in his role as Trump's national security adviser, signaling the Trump administration's intention to maintain contact with Russian Federation despite the uproar in Washington over its interference in the 2016 election.

Bolton arrived in Russian Federation on Monday when he met Security Council chairman Nikolai Patrushev.

Speaking from Moscow on Tuesday, Bolton said Putin expressed interest in meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the 100th anniversary of the WWI armistice on November 11 in Paris.