Russian leader Vladimir Putin took his game of “nuclear chicken” with the United States one notch higher by threatening to target U.S. military positions in Europe with his new nuclear-armed intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).

He also threatened to nuke the United States with his new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Putin told Russians in his State of the Nation address that Russia will target both U.S. military forces in Europe and NATO if the U.S. deploys its own IRBMs in Eastern Europe. He said the Russian missiles will be aimed at U.S. and European decision-making centers.

An IRBM is a ballistic missile with a range from 3,000 km to 5,500 km (or 1,900 miles to 3,400 miles).

Putin’s threat comes after U.S. president Donald Trump withdrew his country out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) on Oct. 20, 2018 alleging Russian non-compliance. The U.S. formally suspended the INF treaty on Feb. 1, 2019 and Russia did so the following day.

When it was in force from 1988 to 2019, the INF treaty eliminated all land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and missile launchers with ranges of 500 km to 1,000 km (short medium-range), and those capable of reaching 1,000 km to 5,500 km (intermediate-range). The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles, however.

Putin threatens war
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address in Moscow on Feb. 20. Putin has threatened the U.S. and its NATO allies with nuclear blackmail. ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

"Russia is not planning to be the first to deploy these missiles to Europe," said Putin in a nationwide televised speech at Russia’s Federal Assembly.

"If they are indeed manufactured and sent to the European continent...this will sharply deteriorate international security and create serious threats to Russia since it takes up to 10-12 minutes for certain types of these missiles to fly to Moscow."

Putin also promised "tit-for-tat" asymmetric measures against the United States.

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy those types of weapons...against those regions from where we will face a direct threat, but also against those regions hosting the centers where decisions are taken on using those missile systems threatening us," he said.

Putin also told his ministers not to engage in disarmament talks with the U.S. until America’s leadership is "mature enough" for equal and meaningful dialogue.

He said some U.S. policymakers are obsessed with “American exceptionalism” and warned them about being careful before deploying their IRBMs to Europe.

"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."