Posted on December 21, 2018
Speaking at his annual news conference, Mr Putin pointed at the US intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Treaty was a deal signed in 1987 between Russia (then the USSR) and the United States to significantly cut the nuclear weapons capabilities of both sides around Europe. It follows the claim by the leader that Russia’s new weapons have no foreign equivalents.
He said that if the US puts intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to take countermeasures. “We are witnessing the break-up of the arms control system,” Mr Putin said, noting the US plan to opt out of the INF Treaty and its reluctance to negotiate the extension of the New START agreement. He also noted that Western analysts are talking about the possibility of using low-yield nuclear weapons.
“There is a trend of lowering the threshold” of using nuclear weapons, Mr Putin said. “Lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe,” he added. “We will have to ensure our security,” Mr Putin said. “And they shouldn’t squeak later about us gaining unilateral advantages. We aren’t seeking advantages, we are trying to preserve the balance and ensure our security.”