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

Vernon rink into win column at BC Senior Curling finals

Vernon Curling Club hosting the province’s top senior curlers; finals set for Sunday at 10 a.m.

Vernon bowlers dominate zones at home

Five teams from Lincoln Lanes advance to provincial YBC finals in Vernon/Kelowna

Vernon sewing instructor teaches flawless fitting

Clothes for real curves made possible with Dawne Whelpley’s workshops

Vernon-area duo still awaiting trial for animal abuse

Trial date expected to be set within the next three weeks

Vernon woman named one of B.C.’s Top 40 business leaders

Amanda Shatzko, consultant and politician, picked up Business in Vancouver Top 40 selection

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

B.C. budget fails to ‘excite’ Kelowna business community

Chamber says Budget 2020 lacks a clearly defined competitiveness strategy

Most Read