Moscow to develop new missiles with end of INF treaty

World Today

Russia said it will develop new missiles in the next two years. The news comes just days after the U.S. suspended its participation in a key nuclear treaty with Moscow.

CGTN’s Julia Chapman filed this report from Moscow.

Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoygu said work would begin on new types of land-based missile systems. These are currently banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, a Cold War-era agreement that will no longer be in force in six months’ time. The defense minister said Russia will develop long-range hyper-sonic and cruise missiles that could be ready as early as 2021.

The U.S. triggered its withdrawal from the agreement last week, after years of accusing Russia of repeated violations. Russia has denied breaking the INF treaty and in response, has given notice of its own withdrawal. Shoygu suggested that Russia’s existing sea and air-launched missiles could be adapted to launch on land.

The INF treaty was a landmark accord signed in 1987 between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. There are fears that its collapse could trigger a new arms race, with Russia free to place missiles within range of European targets. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would only do so if the U.S. does so first.