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Putin says Russia will target U.S. if missiles deployed in Europe

In this image, Russian president Vladimir Putin stands in a suit and red tie at a white podium, in front of a bright blue background and a Russian flag.
Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

During his annual national address Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country will be forced to target the U.S. with new weaponry should a deployment of land-based missiles among NATO allies in Europe take place, per the Washington Post.

The backdrop: Russia and the U.S. both said they planned to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty earlier this month, prompting Russia's announcement that it would begin designing new intermediate-range weapons. There is currently a 6-month negotiating period before the withdrawal is finalized, but increasingly hawkish rhetoric from both sides could make such a deal difficult.

Go deeper: U.S. exit from INF Treaty frees Russia from key nuclear constraints