Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered a like-for-like response to a recent USA missile test, which he said showed that Washington aimed to deploy previously banned missiles around the world.
Putin's reaction comes after the Pentagon had announced on Monday that it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, the first such test since the United States pulled out of a major arms control treaty with Russian Federation on August 2. The test came after the US and Russian Federation withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The US administration has no right to lecture anyone on compliance with obligations in the wake of the country's withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran's nuclear program, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a briefing on Friday.
Putin said he had ordered an analysis of "the level of threat for our country created by the actions of the USA and to take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetric response".
23 ordered a reciprocal response to the recent United States missile test.
Speaking at a government meeting, Putin said the launch of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk missile with a MK-41 launcher confirmed prior suspicions that the United States had planned to place banned weapons in Europe.
He said Moscow was against placement of the launchers in Poland and Romania as part of a missile defence system, but the USA denied they could be used offensively to launch Tomahawks.
"As you know, we have never wanted, do not want and will not get involved in a costly, destructive arms race", Putin said. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform DOD's development of future intermediate-range capabilities. "But our American colleagues it seems are not", said Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations. Missile defense facilities or longer-range rocket strike systems?
The Russian president insisted on Friday that he would not be drawn into an arms race with the United States.
China was not a party to the INF treaty and has a large arsenal of land-based intermediate-range missiles.
He said that the United States is taking the necessary steps to address the threat posed by intermediate-range missile forces being deployed in ever larger numbers by Russian Federation and China.
Putin said Moscow "is still open to equal and constructive dialogue" with the U.S. to discuss global security.