President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday of a resolute response if the U.S. decides to station missiles in countries neighboring Russia.
Putin, in his annual address to parliament, said his country would not seek confrontation and would not take the first step in deploying missiles after the suspension of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
However, he said Russia would respond to any deployment of new intermediate-range missiles in Europe by targeting the United States itself and not just the countries where they are deployed, according to a Reuters translation. He said he would field new weapons that would target U.S. decision-making centers.
He warned U.S. policymakers, some of whom he said were obsessed with U.S. exceptionalism, about being careful before taking new measures.
"It's their right to think how they want. But can they count? I'm sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing," Putin said to applause, according to Reuters.
"Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision-making are located."
In early February, the U.S. confirmed it would suspend its participation in the decades-old INF treaty, which bans ground-launched medium-range missiles with a range of 310 to 3,400 miles. The U.S. administration said it had taken the measure following Russia's refusal to accept that its SSC-8 missile directly contravenes the Cold War-era agreement.