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Russian Federation 'fully ready' to respond to US INF treaty violation

Russian Federation 'fully ready' to respond to US INF treaty violation

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday addressed concerns about the growing risks of a new nuclear arms race as he held his annual televised news conference in Moscow.

"We are witnessing the breakup of the arms control system", Putin said, noting the USA plan to opt out of the INF Treaty and its reluctance to negotiate the extension of the New START agreement.

"The main thing is that we need to get into a new economic league". "We're not achieving an advantage".

Speaking directly to his American counterpart, he said: "It expires in 2021, we do not have any negotiations in place as of yet. you're not interesed in that, you don't want to keep that, that's okay we can ensure our safety, we know how to do that".

"Yes, it is true, there are certain problems with this agreement (the treaty) - other countries that possess intermediate and short range missiles are not part of it", Putin told top military officials at a Defence Ministry meeting.

Putin also emphasized that the pondering the use of ballistic missiles with conventional warheads, saying that the launch of such a missile could be mistaken for the launch of a nuclear-tipped one and trigger a global catastrophe. "But at the same time if something like this would happen, this might lead to the collapse of the entire civilisation, maybe our planet".

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Putin: Nothing to stop new states joining nuclear pact with US and Russia

During the wide-ranging question and answer session, Putin praised US President Donald Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria, but condemned his withdrawal from a Cold War arms agreement.

"We don't feel right now that such a step would be justified from either a political or a technical point of view", Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Kommersant daily newspaper published on Wednesday.

The Russian leader said it remained to be seen if the USA keeps its word, noting Washington's 17-year presence in Afghanistan despite sending occasional signals of pulling out there.

The Russian president noted that the nation's hard currency reserves have increased from $432 billion at the start of the year to $464 billion now.

Shortcomings of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty are not a reason to dismantle it, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said, stressing that the only way forward was to enforce the existing disarmament agreements.

- The Russian president has cast Russia's sluggish economy in a positive light, while calling for improvements. Full-year growth is estimated at 1.8%.

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