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Putin Sees ABM Treaty as Pillar of Security

March 01, 2001|From Associated Press

SEOUL — Signaling displeasure over U.S. plans for a missile defense system, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday described a 1972 nuclear arms treaty as the "root and trunk" of world security.

Russia has said that a U.S. missile defense program would violate the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which bans such systems under the belief that a country would not launch a nuclear strike if it were unable to protect itself against retaliation.

"Any attempts to change the treaty will shake the strategic root and trunk of world peace and security," Putin told South Korean legislators in Seoul, the capital.

A Russian general also accused the U.S. on Wednesday of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and threatened retaliatory measures if Washington withdraws from the ABM Treaty. "If we run into facts of unilateral violations of the ABM Treaty, Russia may review other international treaties concerning strategic weapons," Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Romanov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

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