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

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read