Won’t let United States see missile at heart of nuclear dispute, says Russian Federation

President Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow Dec. 20 2018. MAXIM SHEMETOV  Reuters

President Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow Dec. 20 2018. MAXIM SHEMETOV Reuters

The United States has accused Russian Federation of flouting the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Washington and Moscow during the Cold War and has said it will quit it unless Russian Federation comes back into compliance.

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.

"It's very hard to imagine how the situation will develop (if the USA quits the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty)". Are the Americans not interested, do they not need them? "Lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe", he said.

Russia, since at least September 2015, has helped keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power by providing military support, helping turn the war in the government's favour. If these missiles appear in Europe what should we do?

In more conciliatory language, Putin rallied to Trump's defense against his domestic opponents, warning that the Democrats' success in the midterm elections to the House of Representatives will lead to "new attacks" on the USA president.

Asked if he wanted to rule the world, Putin joked that he would, but that there is only one place where politicians aspire for global hegemony: Washington, D.C., citing the US defense budget.

"We will have to ensure our security", he said. He pointed at United States annual defense spending exceeding $700 billion, comparing it with Russia's military budget of $46 billion.

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

Butina, 30, pleaded guilty last week to a conspiracy charge as part of a deal with the feds for trying to infiltrate conservative political groups in the United States. The pullout is also likely to strengthen Russia's role in Syria's future.

The president dismissed spy scandals - such as the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England - as invented to damage Russia's standing.

The annual big press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the World Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya.

Putin showed no sign of backing down from Russia's stance on Ukraine. The Russian coast guard fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 seamen when they tried to sail from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov in what the USA and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies condemned as unjustified use of force by Russia.

President Vladimir Putin is hailing another year of Russian economic growth after a previous period of stagnation.

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

The Russian president noted that the nation's hard currency reserves have increased from US$432b ($638b) at the start of the year to $US464b ($685b) now.

Putin noted that it would be proper for the U.S.to leave Syria since it is there illegally, without invitation from the Syrian government in Damascus - as Russian Federation was - nor authorization from the United Nations Security Council.

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