Russia Threatens ‘Reaction’ to Proposed U.S. Military Buildup

Leonid Slutsky, a senior Russian lawmaker, speaks during a press conference in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine. The United States and its European allies stepped up their pressure on Russia to end its intervention in Ukraine by imposing the most comprehensive sanctions against Russian officials since the Cold War. Leonid Slutsky is …
AP/Darko Vojinovic

Moscow has reacted sharply to President Trump’s announcement of a substantial budget increase in military spending, warning that the U.S. can expect a response from Russia.

“For now this is pure rhetoric,” said Leonid Slutsky (pictured), Chairman of the Commission on International Affairs in the Russian State Duma. “But if the American military budget increases, then we will react.”

President Trump will ask for an increase of $54 billion in military spending in the next federal budget, according to reports Tuesday, which represents an increase of 10 percent.

In remarks to the nation’s governors during a White House meeting, “the president said he would propose a ‘public safety and national security’ budget for the coming fiscal year that prioritizes the military and other public safety requirements,” reports stated.

“We have to start winning wars again — when I was young, in high school and college, people used to say we never lost a war,” the President said. “We need to win or don’t fight it all. It’s a mess like you have never seen before.”

In an interview with Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, Trump addressed criticism from some on the right that he’s not increasing the military budget enough, suggesting that military spending could grow even further.

“We’re going to spend a lot more money on the military,” the President said. “We really have to. We have no choice. A lot of people think it’s a tremendous amount of money. It could actually be $30 billion more than that. We’re going to upgrade our military very substantially.”

Last Thursday, President Trump used strong language in criticizing the 2011 New START arms control treaty with Russia, dismissing it as “just another bad deal that the country made.” The treaty called for parity between the strategic nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States.

“It’s a one-sided deal like all other deals we make,” Trump told Reuters. “It’s a one-sided deal. It gave them things that we should have never allowed. … Just another bad deal that the country made, whether it’s START, whether it’s the Iran deal, which is one of the bad deals ever made.”

President Trump said that the United States was going to be “at the top of the pack” in terms of nuclear capacities and would never “fall behind on nuclear power.”

The next day, Leonid Slutsky reacted sternly to the President’s words, warning a return to the Cold War if Trump were to pursue military supremacy.

“Trump’s statements on the ‘one-sided’ character of the New START Treaty which allegedly hurts U.S. interests are source for concern,” Slutsky said. “If Washington really takes course for the superiority in the nuclear sphere, the arms race situation will inevitably worsen and the world will go back to the cold war,” he declared.

“It is necessary to maintain the core principles of nuclear parity. The dominance of one power is unacceptable because otherwise the whole system of the international security will be askew and all the efforts on the non-proliferation front of the last decades will be rendered unimportant,” Slutsky said.

I hope this idea “will remain at the level of rhetoric and media reports and will not influence the real progress on this issue in Washington,” he said.

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