Vladimir Putin warns of global nuclear catastrophe

Washington has threatened to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, alleging that the new Russian missile the Novator 9M729, violates the pact which bans either side from stationing short and intermed

"We aren't seeking advantages, we are trying to preserve the balance and ensure our security". "Lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe".

Russian President Vladimir Putin applauded Donald Trump's decision to pull USA forces out of Syria even as he warned that American moves to pull out of arms control treaties are increasing the risk of a nuclear confrontation.

Speaking of the USA, he went on: "Now they're is making another step and they are withdrawing from the INF treaty so what's going to come out of that".

"We have to ensure we are safe and then they would be complaining that we have and advantage".

'If, God forbid, something like that were to happen, it would lead to the end of all civilisation and maybe also the planet, ' he said. It has accused the United States of inventing a false pretext to exit a treaty it wants to leave anyway so as to develop new missiles.

"You aren't interested, you don't need it?"

Photo provided September 19, 2017, by the Russian Defence Ministry official website shows a Russian Iskander-K missile launched during a military exercise at a training ground at the Luzhsky Range, near St. Petersburg.

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US President Donald Trump, in October this year, had announced the US' decision to withdraw from the nuclear treaty.

The annual event, Putin's 14th of its kind, is used by the Russian leader to burnish his leadership credentials and send messages to foreign allies and foes.

Putin reaffirmed the long-held Russian argument that the US presence in Syria is illegitimate because it hasn't been vetted by the UN Security Council or approved by Assad's government.

Putin said the economy grew 1.7 percent over the first 10 months of the year, roughly in line with predictions, while unemployment was down.

Economic questions dominated the opening exchanges, with Putin beginning as usual by reeling off growth figures.

On another key worldwide issue, Putin said he is working toward a deal solving a World War II-era territorial dispute with Japan, though he cautioned that concerns over a Japan-U.S. security pact must be addressed for an agreement to happen. Full-year growth is estimated at 1.8%.

The US withdrawal is based on the allegation that Russian Federation developed a land-based missile in violation of the treaty.

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