‘Invincible weapons’ row: Kremlin says no interest in US arms race

Moscow: The Kremlin said on Friday Russia will not be part of a new arms race as the United States and Germany voiced concern over Vladimir Putin’s boasts of new “invincible” weapons.
Putin stunned the West — and many in Russia — on Thursday by using his state of the nation address to unveil a new arsenal of hypersonic weapons and submarines less than three weeks before an election is expected to extend his rule until 2024.
The revelations came with ties between Russia and the West at post-Cold War lows over the Syria and Ukraine conflicts, and accusations that Moscow interfered in the US presidential election in 2016. US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared concern in a phone conversation over Putin’s claims, Berlin said on Friday.
“The chancellor and the president voiced concern about Russian President Putin’s latest remarks on arms development and its negative impact on international arms control efforts,” said a statement by the German chancellery.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said his government was concerned about “the entire security policy of Russia”. He criticised Moscow over “blatant violations of international law through the annexation of the Crimea”, and the “truly appalling situation of the Syrian civilian population.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected accusations Russia was violating any arms control agreements.
“We categorically reject any accusations that Russia is violating any provisions and articles of international law on disarmament and arms control,” Peskov said.
“Russia is not going to attack anyone, and these weapons do not present a danger to anyone who is not hatching plans to attack our country.
“Russia is not going to be pulled into any arms race.”
Nearly half of Putin’s almost two-hour speech was dedicated to the country’s latest weaponry and was accompanied by video montages of missiles heading over the Atlantic.
Washington accused Moscow of breaching Cold War-era arms treaties, with a State Department spokeswoman saying it was “unfortunate” to have watched a video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States.
Putin presented Russia’s military efforts as a response to actions by the United States, which last month unveiled plans to revamp its own nuclear arsenal and develop new low-yield atomic weapons. — AFP