In a state of the nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the US and its allies.
“I’m saying this clearly and openly – Russia will be forced to create and deploy new types of weapons that could be used not only against the territories where a direct threat to us comes from, but also against the territories where decision-making centers directing the use of missile systems threatening us are located,” Putin said.
In October, President Donald Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, citing Russian non-compliance with the pact.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton appeared on CNN Wednesday to discuss Putin’s threat—and why Donald Trump’s relationship with Putin complicates how the US will respond.
“This is shades of the Cold War all over again,” Leighton said. “And we need to listen very carefully not only to what President Vladimir Putin is saying, but also what the Russians are doing.”
Leighton listed the different kinds of missiles Russia appears to be researching and developing, including a weapon that travels at nine times the speed of sound and another that goes 27 times the speed of sound. “What it means for us is that it becomes almost impossible for us to defend against missiles of that type.”
“The Trump administration has some real difficulties here because of the Russia investigation for one thing,” he said. “On the one side, you have President Trump seemingly favoring Vladimir Putin from a personal standpoint. But the other side of the coin is this. If we don’t stand up to the Russians for whatever reason they’re going to feel free to not only violate treaties, but they’re also going to feel free to deploy weapons systems of this type that we’re talking about.”