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Russia Should Build New Missile Systems After U.S. Treaty Suspension, Defense Minister Says

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country should begin developing new land-based missile systems within the next two years since the U.S. is no longer recognizing a key arms control treaty, the Associated Press reports.

The Trump administration pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 earlier this week, arguing that Russia was in violation of its permissions. Russia denies these accusations, but likewise suspended the treaty and claimed the U.S. was in violation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said he plans to begin new research and development for nuclear missile technology shortly after the suspension, but would avoid getting into “a costly arms race.”

Shoigu reportedly expanded on this Tuesday when speaking to Russian state media outlet RIA.

“In 2019-2020, we should develop a ground-based version of sea-based Kalibr complexes with a long-range cruise missile, which has proved to be effective in Syria,” he said, according to CNBC. “During the same period, we should create a ground-based missile complex with a long-range hypersonic missile.”

Missiles in the Kalibr family vary, but all can carry a conventional warhead or nuclear payload. Hypersonic missiles also have nuclear capabilities and are easily maneuvered despite traveling faster than the speed of sound, the Washington Post reports.