Russia's Putin - nothing to stop us adding other states to nuclear pact

Ann Santiago
December 21, 2018

Both Moscow and Washington signed the treaty, which banned ground-launched nuclear missiles.

On the USA threat to quit the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, Putin also said: "We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the global arms control order and (the start of) an arms race".

There was a growing tendency to underestimate the threat of nuclear war, the Russian leader said.

Russia's hopes for repairing ties with the USA under President Donald Trump have fizzled amid allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election - charges Putin has denied.

Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin warned that "it could lead to the destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet". Regarding the recent standoff with Ukraine, he accused President Petro Poroshenko of seeking to increase his rating by staging provocations in the Black Sea.

However, Russia said on Wednesday it had no intention of letting USA inspectors look at the missile, which it said had not been tested at the longer range that Washington alleges.

"We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the worldwide arms control order and (the start of) an arms race", Putin told his annual news conference with hundreds of reporters. - Ok, we'll survive and will ensure our own security which we know how to do.

On another key worldwide issue, Putin said he is working toward a deal solving a World War II-era territorial dispute with Japan, though he cautioned that concerns over a Japan-U.S. security pact must be addressed for an agreement to happen.

Vehicles and structures of the U.S.-backed coalition forces are shown

In more conciliatory language, Putin rallied to Trump's defense against his domestic opponents, warning that the Democrats' success in the midterm elections to the House of Representatives will lead to "new attacks" on the USA president.

He also noted that Western analysts are talking about the possibility of using low-yield nuclear weapons.

"We had to respond with creating a new type of weapon to overcome this engine missile defence systems and now we hear Russian Federation has an advantage when it comes to weaponry systems. And I think we'll do that", Putin said from behind a large wooden desk to an audience of hundreds of journalists. The pullout is also likely to strengthen Russia's role in Syria's future. The U.S. has said it has no plans to deploy new missiles after pulling out of the INF treaty. One Russian newspaper report said he was in a relationship with Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast, though Putin rejected the assertion.

He showed no sign of backing down from Russia's stance on Ukraine, accusing his Ukrainian counterpart of provoking a naval standoff with Russian Federation to boost his electoral prospects.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he would probably have to get married again, but did not say to whom.

Putin said the economy grew 1.7% over the first 10 months of the year, roughly in line with predictions, while unemployment was down.

Putin pledged that the government will create incentives to speed up growth.

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