Putin issues missile order against US

Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered a like-for-like response to a recent U.S. missile test.

He said the test showed that Washington aimed to deploy previously banned missiles around the world, Reuters reports.

The Pentagon had explained that it tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.

Putin told his Security Council on Friday that Russia could not stand idly by, and that U.S. talk of deploying new missiles in the Asia-Pacific region “affects our core interests as it is close to Russia’s borders”.

U.S. Defence Secretary, Mark Esper said this month he was in favour of placing ground-launched intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon and Putin complained this week that the U.S. was now in a position to deploy its new land-based missile in Romania and Poland.

“All this leaves no doubts that the real intention of the U.S. (in exiting the INF pact) was to … untie its hands to deploy previously banned missiles in different regions of the world,” said Putin.

“We have never wanted, do not want and will not be drawn into a costly, economically destructive arms race.

“That said, in the light of unfolding circumstances, I’m ordering the Defence Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and other appropriate agencies to analyse the threat to our country posed by U.S. actions, and to take exhaustive measures to prepare a reciprocal response.”