Putin: Russia will only deploy new missiles if United States does

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Russian Federation has suspended its involvement in a Cold War-era nuclear missile treaty, amid fears of a new arms race.

Brokered by U.S. president Ronald Reagan with last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty ended a superpower buildup of warheads that had frightened Europeans.

"Let's wait until our partners are mature enough to conduct an equal and substantive dialogue on those issues", he said.

But Russia has categorically rejected the us claims of violation, charging that the missile, which is part of the Iskander-M missile system, has a maximum range of 480 kilometers (298 miles). NATO allies have strongly backed Washington and urged Moscow to save the treaty by returning to compliance.

"Russia will not station intermediate-range weapons in Europe or other regions until similar USA weapons appear in those regions", he said.

Russia's foreign minister said the U.S. withdrawal from the pivotal pact has further upset strategic stability. He ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons, but emphasized that Russian Federation won't deploy them in the European part of the country or elsewhere unless the USA does so.

Mr Lavrov said that Washington has ignored Russia's offer to inspect a cruise missile that the USA claimed violated the pact.

The Russian president's comment comes after on 1 March past year Putin said during his annual address to the Russian upper house that Moscow had developed a number of strategic weapons, including Avangard and Kinzhal hypersonic missile systems, underwater drone Poseidon and laser weapon Peresvet.

But he told the ministers that Russian Federation would "not be drawn into a costly new arms race".

China's foreign ministry has ruled out the possibility of negotiating a new multilateral pact that includes Beijing. Russian Federation denies violating the treaty.

He claimed that the U.S. itself had violated the treaty by deploying missile interceptors in Romania that use the launchers that could hold land-based cruise missiles.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russian Federation will follow in the footsteps of the United States and abandon a centrepiece nuclear arms treaty.

That agreement, which caps the number of nuclear warheads held by Washington and Moscow, expires in 2021.

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