Russia 'will respond' to new US missiles in Europe

President Putin has warned Russia will respond if new US nuclear missiles are placed in Europe

Russia's response would be
Russia's response would be "very quick and effective", Vladimir Putin said.

Putin has said any European countries hosting US missiles would be at risk of Russian strikes.

Nato has said it is unlikely to deploy more nuclear weapons to Europe should an arms control treaty between Washington and Moscow collapse.

The US says Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and plans to withdraw.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed that Russia had probably violated the deal. He said Nato did not seek confrontation but stood ready to defend all allies against any threat.

Thursday sees Nato begin its largest military exercise since the Cold War. The operation is to repel a mock invasion of Norway and will involve all 29 members, as well as Finland and Sweden.

Putin said it was "very dangerous" to dismantle a global arms control system and added "there would be nothing left except an arms race."

Russia's response would be "very quick and effective", he said.

"If the US do end up pulling out of the INF treaty, then the most important question is what will they do with the missiles that will reappear again," he said, speaking at a news conference after talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

"If they are supplied to Europe, then of course we will have to respond in kind, and the European countries that agree to this. If things come to this they should understand that they will be subjecting their own territory to the threat of a possible retaliatory strike," he added.

Putin added that Russia was concerned that the US had already dropped the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, wanted to leave the INF treaty, and that the future of the nuclear arms reduction New Start treaty was unclear.

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