Vladimir Putin's chilling warning on nuclear threat

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Russia confirms US' withdrawal from INF treaty, says Moscow will retaliate if Washington threatens its...

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during annual news conference in Moscow, Russia December 20, 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he wants to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty because Russian Federation has violated the agreement.

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

"We have to ensure we are safe and then they would be complaining that we have and advantage".

"The proper definition of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is completely eliminating the American nuclear threat to North Korea before eliminating our nuclear capability", the statement reads, according to CNN.

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"It's very hard to imagine how the situation will develop (if the USA quits the INF treaty)".

Earlier this month North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, at US request formally declared Russian Federation to be in violation of the INF and demanded that it halt activity that breaches it. "OK, we know how to ensure our security", he said.

He further underlined that Moscow would take retaliatory measures if the U.S. were to station missiles in Europe that threatened their security. "That's disrespect of voters", Mr Putin said. This trend "could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe", he said. "But at the same time if something like this would happen, this might lead to the collapse of the entire civilisation, maybe our planet". As Putin was speaking, Trump tweeted that Russia was among those countries that are "not happy about the US leaving" because they will have to fight Islamic State alone, but the Russian president didn't address that. US officials say the withdrawal from the INF was prompted by Russian violations of the treaty, but Moscow vehemently denies any breaches. Putin said. "We are witnessing the collapse of the global system of deterrence".

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The U.S. "has done the right thing", Putin said, reaffirming the long-held Russian argument that the U.S. presence in Syria is illegitimate because it wasn't vetted by the U.N. Security Council or approved by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

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"So it is unfortunate that such a tendency has been in place and even gaining momentum", Putin said at his annual press conference. The pullout is also likely to strengthen Russia's role in Syria's future.

The Russian president has criticized the United States' threats to pull out of a Cold War era treaty that bans short and medium range ballistic missiles.

Putin showed no sign of backing down from Russia's stance on Ukraine.

On the economy, Putin hailed another year of Russian growth after a previous period of stagnation.

However, the Russian president cast doubt on whether or not Trump would follow through, noting how the US has announced several withdrawals after 17 years in Afghanistan. Full-year growth is estimated at 1.8 percent.

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Putin noted that it would be proper for the U.S.to leave Syria since it is there illegally, without invitation from the Syrian government in Damascus - as Russian Federation was - nor authorization from the United Nations Security Council.

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