Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the threat of nuclear war should not be underestimated, but that he hoped that common sense would prevail.
Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin said it was hard to predict what the consequences would be of a U.S. withdrawal from the landmark Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987.
“It’s a real shame that there’s a tendency to underestimate them (nuclear weapons). It is a legitimate issue, and it is even growing,” Putin said.
“They (the US) left the (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, what will come of that? It is difficult to imagine how the situation will develop from there. If these rockets appear in Europe, what do we do? Of course, we will need to provide our own security. Let them not say afterwards that we were trying to achieve some sort of advantage. We are not aiming for an advantage, we are aiming to retain balance and to provide for our own safety,” the Russian premier continued.