Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would develop new nuclear weapons if the United States does, too.
“If Russia obtains reliable information that the United States has finished developing these systems and started to produce them, Russia will have no option other than to engage in a full-scale effort to develop similar missiles,” Putin said in a statement on Monday during a meeting with his Security Council, according to Reuters.
“In order to avoid chaos with no rules, restrictions or laws, we need to once more weigh up all the dangerous consequences and launch a serious and meaningful dialogue free from any ambiguity,” Putin said.
After the meeting, Putin ordered the defense and foreign ministries and its SVR foreign intelligence service to closely monitor any steps the United States takes regarding the development or deployment of its missiles.
The United States formally exited the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty nuclear agreement on Friday, concluding that Moscow had already violated the terms of the treaty by developing a banned missile type, although the Kremlin denies the accusation.
The treaty had banned land-based missiles with a range of 310 and 3,400 miles between both countries, reducing both forces’ capability to launch nuclear strikes.
Russia has been ramping up its nuclear-capable missiles tests lately, with one test being conducted on July 26. The road-mobile missile reportedly hit its target about 994 miles away.
“On July 26, 2019, a combat unit of the strategic missile forces conducted a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile of the Topol mobile ground-based missile system from the Kapustin Yar state central practice range in the Astrakhan region,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
The Russian Strategic Missile Forces, a military branch of the Russian Armed Forces that controls its land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), also conducted ICBM tests on February 2019 and June 2018.
Another nuclear agreement between the United States and Russia is set to expire in 2021, called the New START agreement.
Rather than extend the agreement, President Trump stated in April that he hopes to renegotiate a deal to limit more types of weapons and even include China in on the agreement, according to CNN at the time.
“Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can’t,” Trump said in April, adding, “In which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far.”
A White House official told CNN that since New START only covers a “small sub-set of weapons that Russia was covering,” the United States “should bring all of those weapons under control.”
The official added, “We should eliminate as many of them as possible, we should look to eliminate classes of weapons.”