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Suspected suicide bombers kill at least 18 people in Nigeria, authorities say

Suspected suicide bombers kill at least 18 people in Nigeria, authorities say

Putin calls for resumption of intermediate missile production after US withdrawal from treaty

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for a resumption of production of intermediate-range missiles banned under a now scrapped treaty with the United States.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which banned ground-based nuclear and conventional missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles), was seen as a milestone in arms control when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan signed it in 1988.

The US withdrew from the treaty in 2019, citing violations by Russia.

“We need to start producing these attack systems and then, based on the actual situation, make decisions about where to place them, if necessary to ensure our security,” Putin said at a meeting of Russia’s National Security Council.

Putin said that Russia has not produced any more missiles since the scrapping of the treaty in 2019, but that “today it is known that the United States not only produces these missile systems, but has already taken them to Europe for exercises, to Denmark .It was recently announced that they are in the Philippines.”

Since withdrawing from the treaty, the U.S. military has made progress in developing a conventional, ground-launched, intermediate-range ballistic missile called the Typhon, which would have been banned under the INF. The Typhon fires two naval missiles, the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile and Standard Missile-6.

The US military tested the system this spring during an exercise in the Philippines.

The end of the INF was a milestone in deteriorating US-Russian relations.

The last remaining arms control pact between Washington and Moscow is the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which limits each country to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers. It expires in 2026, and the lack of dialogue on cementing a follow-on deal has gun control advocates concerned.

Putin’s statement comes amid rising tensions between Russia and the West over the conflict in Ukraine and concerns about possible nuclear attacks.

In June, Putin spoke to executives of international news organizations about Moscow’s use of nuclear weapons.

“We have a nuclear doctrine, look at what it says,” he said. “If someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we consider it possible to use all the means at our disposal. This should not be taken lightly and superficially.”