Vladimir Putin is preparing for his own version of nuclear winter.
The Russian leader has ordered his military to start developing new medium-range missiles in response to President Trump’s announcement that the United States is abandoning a Cold War nuclear arms treaty.
Putin announced that Russia was also suspending the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, just one day after Trump pulled out of the 1987 agreement over alleged Russian violations, reported ABC News.
Among the new weapons Putin wants are ground-launched hypersonic missiles with an intermediate range — previously banned under the treaty — and the conversion of previous sea-based cruise missiles capable of ground launches.
But Putin claimed Russia wouldn’t deploy the missiles unless the U.S. deployed its own.
“Our response will be symmetrical,” Putin told officials. “Our American partners have stated about suspending their participation in the treaty, and we are suspending ours. They have stated that they are doing research, and research and development, and we will do the same.”
American officials have been accusing Russia for years of clandestinely creating cruise missiles with a range that violated the treaty.
“We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct,” said Trump on Friday.
Presidential officials have downplayed warnings that exiting the nuke treaty could potentially start a new arms race because Russia has already violated the pact.