Putin: West disrespecting voters' choices of Trump and Brexit

Vladimir Putin

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.

He then criticized President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the U.S. -Russia Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF treaty, saying, "We are essentially witnessing the breakdown of the global order of arms control".

He, however, expressed a belief that "the humankind will have enough common sense and self-preservation not to drive the situation to extremes".

In his end-of-year press conference, the Russian strongman claimed that Butina made the plea because of the threat of a lengthy prison sentence in what he described was a fabricated case.

However, Russia said on Wednesday it had no intention of letting U.S. inspectors look at the missile, which it said had not been tested at the longer range that Washington alleges.

Putin underscored a growing confrontation with the USA over its move to pull out of a landmark 1987 arms control treaty. - Ok, we'll survive and will ensure our own security which we know how to do.

The U.S. has said it would exit the agreement because Russian Federation had violated its terms.

But the Russian president welcomed US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US military from Syria, saying the country "has done the right thing".

He also noted that Western analysts are talking about the possibility of using low-yield nuclear weapons.

An increase to the retirement age this year provoked anger and rare street protests but Mr Putin said the hike was "unavoidable" when questioned on the subject.

"We are witnessing the breakup of the arms control system", Putin said on Thursday.

Putin said the move, if it happened, would have unpredictable consequences. Russian President Vladimir Putin says leaving the treaty "would be a very unsafe step". The pullout is also likely to strengthen Russia's role in Syria's future.

"It's very hard to imagine how the situation will develop (if the USA quits the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty)".

He showed no sign of backing down from Russia's stance on Ukraine, accusing his Ukrainian counterpart of provoking a naval standoff with Russian Federation to boost his electoral prospects.

Economic questions dominated the opening exchanges, with Vladimir Putin beginning as usual by reeling off growth figures.

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

It is pertinent to note here that US President Donald Trump said Wednesday it was time for US troops to come home from Syria, after years of battling the Islamic State group in the war-wracked country. Full-year growth is estimated at 1.8%.

"I don't understand what she could confess to since she was not carrying out any government assignments... whatever she said was under threat of 10 to 15 years in jail", Putin said.

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