Russia will develop new nuclear missiles if Trump does so, Putin warns

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the United States to start new arms talks, a few days after the collapse of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), warning that Moscow will be forced to begin developing short- and intermediate-range land-based nuclear missiles if Washington starts doing so.

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The INF was signed toward the end of the Cold War in 1987 by then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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It banned all land-based missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres and included missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.

The treaty, seen as a milestone in ending the Cold War arms race between the two superpowers, led to the elimination of 2,692 missiles from both sides, ridding Europe of land-based nuclear missiles.

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However, the hard-fought INF collapsed on Friday after the US officially withdrew from it, triggering fears of a new arms race.

Back in early February, Washington had announced that it would pull out of the deal in six months on August 2 if Moscow did not stop testing ground-launched 9M729 cruise missiles.

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