Russia's Putin - nothing to stop us adding other states to nuclear pact

Russia president Vladimir Putin

Instead he sought to paint himself as the world's protector.

The Trump administration on December 4 said it would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 60 days if Russian Federation doesn't stop its violations.

Russian Federation says the missile's range puts it outside the treaty altogether and is not as long as Washington alleges, meaning that it is fully compliant with the INF.

When asked about Donald Trump's decision on Wednesday to begin withdrawing forces from Syria, Putin said he "generally" agreed with the USA president's decision that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had been defeated there.

The Russian president pointed at Western defense analysts discussing the possibility of using low-yield nuclear weapons, warning that its authors naively believe in a limited conflict involving smaller weapons.

Illustrative. German soldiers assigned to Surface Air and Missile Defense Wing 1 fire the Patriot weapons system at the NATO Missile Firing Installation, in Chania, Greece, on November 8, 2017. "Lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe", he said. "We will ensure our security; we know how to do it". And they shouldn't squeak later about us gaining unilateral advantages. "We have to ensure our security", Putin said, "and for that they will complain about us having the advantage".

Russian Federation said on Wednesday it would not let the United States inspect a new nuclear-capable cruise missile at the heart of a dispute between Washington and Moscow that risks unravelling a landmark arms control treaty.

"If that happens, it could lead to the destruction of civilisation as a whole and maybe even our planet", he said.

Putin also said sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russian Federation were the result of the country's increasing worldwide influence. Are the Americans not interested, do they not need them?

Putin said that the USA announcement it will withdraw its troops from Syria is "the right thing to do" though he expressed skepticism about whether it will actually take place. He pointed at United States annual defense spending exceeding $700 billion, comparing it with Russia's military budget of $46 billion.

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Amid a litany of complaints over Washington's policies, Putin had one nice thing to say about the United States: He welcomed Trump's decision to withdraw the USA military from Syria.

Asked about Western sanctions against Moscow, Mr Putin said these were "connected with the growth of Russia's power". The pullout is also likely to strengthen Russia's role in Syria's future.

An increase to the retirement age this year provoked anger and rare street protests but Mr Putin said the hike was "unavoidable" when questioned on the subject.

He insisted that a Russian woman in United States custody has not carried out any mission for the Russian government, even though she has pleaded guilty to acting as a covert agent of the government.

Butina pleaded guilty last Thursday in front of a U.S. federal judge to one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent. There is only one aim: "to hold back Russia's development", he said, later lamenting that ties with Britain were at a "dead end".

Putin showed no sign of backing down from Russia's stance on Ukraine, and accused his Ukrainian counterpart of provoking a naval stand-off with Russian Federation to boost his electoral prospects.

David Miliband has criticised Vladimir Putin after the Russian president spoke out against a second Brexit referendum.

The positive statistics follow a hard period in recent years when Russia's economy has suffered a combined blow of low oil prices and Western sanctions, resulting in stagnation. He drew skepticism even from state TV as he touted the year's growth outlook of 1.8 percent and an upturn in household incomes.

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