Published: Fri, December 21, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

Vladimir Putin says USA presence in Japan complicates signing of peace treaty

Vladimir Putin says USA presence in Japan complicates signing of peace treaty

On another key global issue, Putin said he is working toward a deal solving a World War II-era territorial dispute with Japan, though he cautioned that concerns over a Japan-U.S. security pact must be addressed for an agreement to happen.

The Russian president pointed at Western defense analysts discussing the possibility of using low-yield nuclear weapons, warning that its authors naively believe in a limited conflict involving smaller weapons.

The Russian leader said it remained to be seen if the USA keeps its word, noting Washington's 17-year presence in Afghanistan despite sending occasional signals of pulling out there.

"Donald's right and I agree with him", he said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

Putin also noted that the United States appears to show little interest in extending the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which expires in 2021.

Russian President Vladimir said it's the US not Russia that's aspiring to dominate the world
APRussian President Vladimir said it's the US not Russia that's aspiring to dominate the world

"You aren't interested, you don't need it?"

Russian President Vladimir said it's the United States, not Russia, that's aspiring to dominate the world.

Putin warned that "there is a trend of lowering the threshold" of using nuclear weapons, adding that "lowering the threshold could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe".

"We know how to ensure our safety", Putin said, "we can do that".

He further underlined that Moscow would take retaliatory measures if the U.S. were to station missiles in Europe that threatened their security.

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He insisted that a Russian woman in USA custody has not carried out any mission for the Russian government, even though she pleaded guilty earlier this month to acting as a covert agent of the government. "That's disrespect of voters", Mr Putin said.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump announced that he would withdraw USA troops from Syria, saying Islamic State forces had been defeated there.

Putin, who was addressing more than 1,000 reporters from around the world, many of them holding up signs to attract his attention, faced a tougher task defending his domestic record.

"As a respectable person, I will have to do this at some point", Putin said, smiling.

He showed no sign of backing down from Russia's stance on Ukraine, accusing his Ukrainian counterpart of provoking a naval standoff with Russian Federation to boost his electoral prospects.

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Economic questions dominated the opening exchanges, with Vladimir Putin beginning as usual by reeling off growth figures.

The Russian president noted Thursday that the nation's hard currency reserves have increased from $432 billion at the start of the year to $464 billion now.

Putin reaffirmed the long-held Russian argument that the USA presence in Syria is illegitimate because it hasn't been vetted by the UN Security Council or approved by Assad's government. He drew skepticism even from state TV as he touted the year's growth outlook of 1.8 percent and an upturn in household incomes.

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