Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said late Wednesday that Moscow is "ready" for another conflict with the U.S. similar to the Cuban missile crisis, but added that he does not relish the prospect.
Putin told reporters that tensions with the U.S. are "not what we want," while seemingly warning adversaries of advances in Russian military technology, according to Reuters.
“They (the tensions) are not a reason to ratchet up confrontation to the levels of the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s. In any case that’s not what we want,” said Putin, according to the news service. “If someone wants that, well OK they are welcome. I have set out today what that would mean. Let them count [the missile flight times].”
“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,” the Russian leader reportedly added.
“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,” he continued.
The State Department rejected Putin's remarks as "propaganda" in a statement to Reuters, saying the speech was designed to distract from Russia's alleged violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the U.S.
“President Putin’s remarks are a continuation of Russia’s propaganda effort to avoid responsibility for Russia’s actions in violation of the INF Treaty,” a State Department spokeswoman told the news service.
The Trump administration earlier this month announced long-anticipated plans to stop complying with the INF, a Soviet-era arms control pact with Russia.