Does Putin really want a nuclear war

Russia: Putin warns of the growing danger of nuclear war

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the risk of nuclear war is increasing. At his annual press conference, he pointed out that the US government wants to withdraw from the INF treaty for medium-range nuclear missiles. Because of this decision, he had previously warned of an arms race. If the US were to deploy medium-range missiles in Europe, Russia would be forced to take countermeasures, Putin said.

"If, God forbid, something like this happens, it can destroy the whole civilization, if not the whole planet," said the Russian President. He sees the responsibility for the growing danger emanating from the USA. Russia only wants to keep its balance with new weapons. "We are only maintaining the balance, ensuring our safety," said Putin.

The Russian President also pointed out that Western analysts are talking about the possibility of using low-explosive nuclear weapons. If the threshold for their use is lowered, it could lead to a major nuclear war, he said. Putin also criticized considerations in the USA to use ballistic missiles with conventional warheads. If such a missile is launched, it could be mistaken for a nuclear missile and cause a global catastrophe, Putin said.

A dispute has been simmering between Russia and the USA for months over the treaty that bans medium-range nuclear missiles. The US has accused Russia of violating the INF treaty and announced that it will suspend its obligations under the treaty in February. Russia has again asserted that it will not violate the treaty.

Putin praises Russian economy

Putin welcomed the announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria. However, he has not yet seen any signs that the US troops would actually be withdrawn. He shared the assessment of US President Donald Trump that the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS) in Syria had largely been defeated, said Putin.

Trump had announced the complete withdrawal of US troops the day before. Putin pointed out that US soldiers without an international mandate are in Syria. A peace settlement is making progress, so it is no longer necessary for US soldiers to be present, he said.

Russia's relations with neighboring Ukraine are unlikely to normalize in the foreseeable future, Putin said. "As long as there are Russophobes in the Kiev power days who ignore the interests of their own people, the situation will not change, regardless of who is in the Kremlin," he said. His country is interested in peace and prosperity in Ukraine, as the neighboring country is one of the largest economic partners. The volume of trade between the two countries has recently increased, Putin said.

The conflict between the two countries came to a head again at the end of November. The Russian coast guard forcibly prevented boats of the Ukrainian Navy from traveling through the Kerch Strait off the Crimean peninsula. The boats and crew were arrested. Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014. Many countries see this as a violation of international law.

Putin listed a number of positive developments in the economy. The real income of the population rose by 0.5 percent for the first time in 2018. The gross domestic product grew by 1.7 percent in the first ten months. For the year as a whole, growth of 1.8 percent is expected. Annual inflation will be slightly higher than expected at 4.1 percent, said the Kremlin chief. But Russia still needs a breakthrough in economic growth.