Russia

Putin: Russia Preparing 'Symmetrical Answer' To US Missile Test

The United States tested a modified ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile which hit its target more than 310 miles away.

Watch: The US tested its ground-launched cruise missile on Sunday.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to work out a response after the test of a new US missile banned under a now-defunct arms treaty.

Washington said in Sunday's test the modified ground-launched version of a Navy Tomahawk cruise missile accurately struck its target more than 310 miles away.

The test came after the US and Russia withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The US said it withdrew from the treaty due to Russian violations, a claim that Moscow has denied.

United Nations Security Council meeting has been convened at the request of Russia and China to discuss the threat they say is posed by US medium-range missiles.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Putin charged that the US waged a "propaganda campaign" alleging Russian breaches of the pact to "untie its hands to deploy the previously banned missiles in different parts of the world".

He ordered the defence ministry and other agencies to "take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetrical answer".

The Russian leader noted that Sunday's test was performed from a launcher similar to those deployed at a US missile defence site in Romania.

He argued that the Romanian facility and a prospective similar site in Poland could also be loaded with missiles intended to hit ground targets instead of interceptors.

The missile tested by the US was a version of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missile, which was removed from service after the INF was ratified (Library picture: US Navy).

Mr Putin has previously pledged that Russia would not deploy the missiles previously banned by the INF Treaty to any area before the US does that first, but he noted the use of the universal launcher means that a covert deployment is possible.

"How would we know what they will deploy in Romania and Poland - missile defence systems or strike missile systems with a significant range?" Mr Putin said.

Russia long has charged that the US launchers loaded with missile defence interceptors could be used for firing surface-to-surface missiles.

Mr Putin said that Sunday's test has proven that the US denials have been false.

"It's indisputable now," the Russian leader said.

He added the missile test that came just 16 days after the INF treaty's termination has shown that the US long had started work on the new systems banned by the treaty.

Mr Putin said Russia will continue working on new weapons in response to the US moves, but will keep a tight lid on spending.

"We will not be drawn into a costly arms race that would be disastrous for our economy," Mr Putin said, adding that Russia ranks seventh in military spending after the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Japan.

He added Russia remains open to an "equal and constructive dialogue with the US to rebuild mutual trust and strengthen international security".