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Putin Vows 'Immediate and Symmetrical' Response If U.S. Withdraws From Cold War Arms Treaty

Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will respond "immediately and symmetrically" if the United States withdraws from a key Cold War arms-control treaty.

Putin made the comments October 19 during an appearance at a meeting of Russian and international foreign policy experts known as the Valdai Discussion Club, held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The agreement in question is the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty which has been under severe strain since Washington first accused Moscow of violating it, in 2014.

Moscow has denied the charge, and leveled similar accusations in return.

U.S. officials have struggled to respond to alleged Russian violations, with some Republicans in Congress even calling on the Pentagon to build a new ground-launched cruise missile. Some officials have even called for the United States to pull out of the treaty altogether.

Putin said the 1987 treaty was tilted in the United States' favor, since it banned only ground-launched cruise missiles, not those carried on naval ships and aircraft.

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