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Russia will develop new nuclear missiles if Trump does so, Putin warns

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the United States to start new arms talks, a few days after the collapse of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), warning that Moscow will be forced to begin developing short- and intermediate-range land-based nuclear missiles if Washington starts doing so.

The INF was signed toward the end of the Cold War in 1987 by then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

It banned all land-based missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometres and included missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.

The treaty, seen as a milestone in ending the Cold War arms race between the two superpowers, led to the elimination of 2,692 missiles from both sides, ridding Europe of land-based nuclear missiles.

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However, the hard-fought INF collapsed on Friday after the US officially withdrew from it, triggering fears of a new arms race.

Back in early February, Washington had announced that it would pull out of the deal in six months on August 2 if Moscow did not stop testing ground-launched 9M729 cruise missiles.

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