MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia has to respond to US nuclear weapons challenges, but it does so in strict compliance with international agreements, Vladimir Putin told reporters.
"At a time when one party has unilaterally walked out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty and declared that it will be creating an anti-nuclear umbrella, the other side will have to either consider creating a similar umbrella, although I am not certain that it should do so, because the effectiveness of this program is rather doubtful, or to create effective means of piercing that anti-missile defense and upgrading its nuclear attack weapons, which we have been doing with success," Putin said.
Moscow sees nothing new in the statements of US President-elect Donald Trump that the US must "strengthen and expand its nuclear capability," the Russian president said. At the same time, Putin emphasized that "he had never doubted American nuclear might".
"Speaking on the statements of US President-elect Donald Trump, then there is nothing new here. During his election campaign, he spoke about the need to strengthen the US nuclear capability and reinforce the armed forces," Putin said. "There is nothing unusual here."
Russia is stronger than any potential aggressor, Vladimir Putin reiterated.
"I was a little bit surprised to hear statements by other officials from the United States’ incumbent administration who, due to some unknown reasons, sought to prove that the United States’ armed forces are the world’s strongest. No one argues that," Putin said at his traditional annual news conference. "If you were attentive to what I said yesterday, I spoke about strengthening of the nuclear triad and said in conclusion that the present-day Russia is stronger than any potential aggressor."
"It was very important. I said that intentionally. We are stronger than any potential aggressor," he underscored.
"Why did I say that? Because of the modernization of our armed forces, because of our history and geography, because of today’s domestic situation in Russian society," Putin stressed. "It means that there is a range of reasons. The modernization of the armed forces, both the conventional component and the nuclear triad, is playing a major role."
Russia's committment to international treaties
Russia has always acted in strict compliance with all international agreements on nuclear weapons, in particular the New START, Vladimir Putin stressed.
"It is true that we have carried out a large amount of work to upgrade the nuclear missile potential of Russia and our armed forces. New nuclear-powered strategic submarines with new types of missiles on board are being commissioned," he said.
"The same applies to the aviation component [including the delivery vehicles - aircraft] and the attack system."
"We act in strict compliance with all agreements to which we are signatories, including START-3," Putin said. "Let me say once again something I regard as very important. The United States in 2001 unilaterally walked out of the ABM treaty, which had been a corner stone of the whole system of international security."
US administration and the future of bilateral relations
Thecurrent US Administration is trying to explain its all failures by outer factors, but it has own system-based problems, Putin has noted.
"All their failures the current administration and leaders of the US Democratic Party are trying to explain by outer factors," he said. "In relation to this I have a question and certain ideas."
"We know the Democratic Party lost not only the presidential election, but also the elections to the Senate, where the Republicans have the majority, to the Congress, where the Republicans have the majority. What is that - also our, also my work?" Putin continued. "This all is not so. This demonstrates the current administration has system-based problems."
"There is a certain gap in the ideas about what is good and what is bad among the elites and among the public," he said.