MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. The arms race began with the United States’ pullout from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the year-end news conference on Thursday.
When asked what would happen and whether there was any risk an arms race would follow if the United States refused to prolong the New START treaty, Putin said: "It has already begun. This is obvious. Everything began after the US pullout from the ABM treaty."
"One country is creating an ‘umbrella’ for itself. This is tantamount to setting our nuclear potential to zero," Putin said. "What were we obliged to do in response? We were obliged to do everything to prevent this from happening. Either creating our own missile defense system or developing weapons capable of penetrating the missile defense. And we did that. We made the hypersonic weapons, including the Avangard."
The anti-ballistic missile treaty was concluded between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1972. In December 2001, the United States declared it was unilaterally quitting the agreement. Under the terms of the treaty its actual termination happened six months later, in June 2002.