Russian President Vladimir said that the threat of nuclear war should not be underestimated, but that he hoped that common sense would prevail.
During his annual news conference on Thursday Putin accused the United States of raising the risk of nuclear war by threatening to leave an arms control treaty with Moscow and refusing to discuss the future of another bilateral agreement that is about to expire
The Russian leader said “It’s very hard to imagine how the situation will develop [if the US quits the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)”
Press TV reports: The 1987 pact, which Washington has threatened to ditch, bans the two sides from stationing short- and intermediate-range missiles in Europe. The treaty did not cover sea-launched missiles.
“If these missiles appear in Europe, what should we do? Of course, we’ll have to ensure our own security,” said the Russian head of state.
He, then, proceeded to address the New START, another Russo-American pact that limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads each side can have. It expires in 2021.
“No talks on extending this are yet being held. Are the Americans not interested, do they not need them? — Ok, we’ll survive and will ensure our own security which we know how to do,” Putin said.
We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the international arms control order and [the start of] an arms race,” he added.
The Russian leader concluded, “In general, this is very bad for humankind because it takes us closer to a dangerous threshold,” referring to the prospect of a nuclear conflict.
US inviting doom?
The Russian chief executive further cautioned, “If, God forbid, something like that were to happen, it would lead to the end of all civilization and maybe also the planet.”
“These are serious questions and it’s a real shame that there’s a tendency to underestimate them,” he asserted.
Putin, however, hoped that “humankind has enough common sense and sense of self-preservation not to take things to such extremes.”