Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir
Putin warned that the US is raising the risk of a nuclear war by threatening to withdraw from nuclear treaties and refusing to hold talks on another pact that is soon to expire.
Putin in particular warned of a dangerous new arms race coming out of the withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, saying it would have unpredictable consequences.
“We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the international arms control order and the start of an arms race.” Putin said Russia would have no choice but to respond if the US pullout led to US nuclear missiles appearing in Europe.
Russia has been offering talks on saving the INF, and has also sought negotiations on the expiring New START pact, which expires in 2021. Putin has warned if talks don’t start very soon, they won’t have time to extend New START before the expiration.
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