Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of a “nuclear catastrophe” if the US stations new missiles in Europe after going ahead with a threat to pull out of a landmark 1987 arms control treaty.
“For mankind this is very bad, because it will take us to a dangerous point,” Putin said, expressing concern about moves to lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, including the US decision to produce lower-yield missiles. This trend “could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe,” he said.
Russia will be forced to develop new weapons systems, the Russian leader signaled. “If missiles appear in Europe, what else can we do?” Putin said. “We are witnessing the collapse of the global system of deterrence.”
The US has said it has no plans to deploy new missiles in Europe after pulling out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual press conference on Thursday with more than 1,000 reporters from around the country and the world.
He opened the event with his usual rundown of economic data, but is likely to be asked about foreign policy and domestic politics as well in an event that usually runs for several hours