Russia is not willing to get dragged into a new arms race but it must ensure its security .
President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published on Thursday.
According to the interview posted on the Kremlin website, Putin say the U.S have a military budget of more than 700 billion U.S. dollars, compared to Russia’s roughly 48 billion dollars.
“That is why we had to develop advanced weapons and equipment in response to the increasing military expenditure and the clearly destructive actions of the U.S.,’’ the president said.
Putin said it was not Russia but the U.S that started the breakdown of the international security system by unilaterally withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the cornerstone of the entire arms control architecture in 2002.
Russia approached the U.S. more than once, suggesting that both sides sort out issues concerning the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but was refused, he said.
“Washington does not seem ready to discuss the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that will expire in early 2021 or the possibility of elaborating a new full scale agreement.
“Last October, we offered the U.S. to adopt a joint statement on the inadmissibility of a nuclear war and the recognition of its devastating consequences. There has been no response,’’ Putin said.
The U.S. administration has recently begun to reflect on the possibility of restarting dialogue with Russia on a broad strategic agenda.
He said reaching concrete agreements in the field of arms control would help improve international stability.
“Russia has the political will to do this, Now it is for the United States to make a decision,’’ Putin said,
Putin said he reiterated this position at a recent meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Osaka, Japan.