Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently warned the United States not to withdraw from their nuclear arms control treaty, noting that doing so would prompt the Kremlin to “hit back fast,” reports Reuters.
“From our side, the response will be instant, and I want to warn, symmetrical,” cautioned Putin during the high-profile televised Valdai discussion with foreign academics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on Thursday.
His comments come amid allegations that the Clintons facilitated the sale of 20 percent of U.S. domestic uranium production to Russia under the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama.
According to Reuters, Putin accused America of betraying the Kremlin by not reciprocating what he described as the “unprecedented access” Moscow granted Washington to its secret nuclear sites in the 1990s.
The news outlet reports:
Putin accused the United States of upsetting the strategic nuclear balance by modernizing its arsenal of weapons.
Russia would develop new weapons systems, he pledged, if it was forced to, and if the United States withdrew from a landmark arms control treaty — the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty — Russia would hit back fast.
Reportedly, Putin was “visibly angry at times” as he described Russia as the victim of its relationship with the West.
Reuters described Putin’s condemnation of America as “one of his most stinging critiques of U.S. foreign policy.”
Asked by a Germany-based academic to describe the shortcomings of Moscow’s relationship with West, Putin reportedly responded by casting “Russia as the wronged party and its post-Soviet leadership as too naive and trusting.”
“Our biggest mistake was that we trusted you too much. You interpreted our trust as weakness, and you exploited that,” proclaimed Putin, adding:
Unfortunately, our Western partners, having divided the USSR’s geopolitical legacy, were certain of their own incontestable righteousness having declared themselves the victors of the ‘Cold War.’
They started to openly interfere in the sovereign affairs of countries and to export democracy in the same way as in their time the Soviet leadership tried to export the Socialist revolution to the whole world.
Citing opinion polls, Reuters acknowledged that bashing the West plays well with many Russian voters.
Although he is allegedly expected to step down after ruling Russian politics for 18 years, the Russian president refused to say whether he would run for a fourth term in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for March.
In April, Gen. John Hyten, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told lawmakers that America is facing “significant challenges” sustaining its defense capabilities, both in the nuclear and conventional realm, and is at risk of no longer holding a military advantage over its enemies including Russia.