FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

Putin issues chilling warning on rising nuclear war threat

“There is a trend of lowering the threshold” of using nuclear weapons, Putin said. “Lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a chilling warning Thursday about the rising threat of a nuclear war, saying “it could lead to the destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet.”

Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin pointed at the U.S. intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty. He said that if the U.S. puts intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to take countermeasures.

“We are witnessing the breakup of the arms control system,” Putin said, noting the U.S. plan to opt out of the INF Treaty and its reluctance to negotiate the extension of the New START agreement.

He also noted that Western analysts are talking about the possibility of using low-yield nuclear weapons.

“There is a trend of lowering the threshold” of using nuclear weapons, Putin said. “Lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe.”

“We will have to ensure our security,” he said. “And they shouldn’t squeak later about us gaining unilateral advantages. We aren’t seeking advantages, we are trying to preserve the balance and ensure our security.”

Read more: Putin: If US develops banned missiles, so will Russia

Read more: Trudeau regrets Trump decision to pull out of Iran nuclear agreement

Putin also emphasized that the U.S. is pondering the use of ballistic missiles with conventional warheads, saying that the launch of such a missile could be mistaken for the launch of a nuclear-tipped one and trigger a global catastrophe.

“If that happens, it could lead to the destruction of the entire civilization and may be even our planet,” he said.

Putin also noted that the U.S. appears to show little interest in extending the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which expires in 2021.

“You aren’t interested, you don’t need it? OK, we know how to ensure our security,” he said.

On the economy, Putin hailed another year of Russian growth after a previous period of stagnation.

Russia’s gross domestic product is set to grow by 1.8 per cent this year, while industrial output has grown faster at 3 per cent, he said.

The Russian president noted that the nation’s hard currency reserves have increased from $432 billion at the start of the year to $464 billion now.

The positive statistics follow a difficult period in recent years when Russia’s economy has suffered a combined blow of low oil prices and Western sanctions.

Russia’s economy registered 1.5-per cent growth last year following the two-year stagnation.

Putin pledged that the government will create incentives to speed up growth.

Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Athletic Park will not be a shelter site during COVID-19 crisis: Victoria mayor

Indoor sites to be coordinated with Island Health, BC Housing

BC Ferries further reduces sailings in response to COVID-19

Any sailing reservations cancelled due to schedule changes will be refunded

COVID-19: Saanich company joins nation-wide effort to produce 30,000 ventilators

StarFish Medical using a ‘purpose-driven design for rapid manufacturing,’ CEO says

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read