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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2019 All rights reserved
February 04, 2019

     Putin is bluffing and making threats in desperation.  Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said his country would follow the United States in suspending its participation in a treaty banning midrange nuclear weapons, the latest step toward the demise of a pact that had been a pillar of international arms control since the close of the Cold War.

     Putin ordered his military to start developing land-based missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads in the range prohibited by the treaty, including a hypersonic version. He also directed his diplomats to stop initiating any arms control talks with the West, claiming that Washington hadn't negotiated in good faith.

     Putin's move came a day after the Trump administration announced it was pulling out of the agreement and underscored analysts' fears that a budding arms race between Russia and the United States is about to intensify.

     The United States and its allies have said for years that Russia is violating the 1987 pact between Washington and Moscow, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, by developing and fielding a banned missile. Russia denies the allegation.

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