Vladimir Putin, Unsurprised by Trump’s Remarks, Says Russia Wants No Nuclear Arms Race

In response to Trump wanting to expand America’s nuclear weapons capabilities, Putin says he is unsurprised by Trump’s statements and does not want a nuclear arms race. Via NYT

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Friday that a statement by Donald J. Trump, the American president-elect, that the United States should expand its nuclear abilities was not a surprise because he had said the same thing during the election campaign.

Asked about the American election, Mr. Putin, who has made no secret of his distaste for Hillary Clinton, said her defeat was a “humiliation” for the Democratic Party.

The Russian president, speaking at his annual marathon news conference, also said that Russia would continue to modernize its armed forces, including nuclear weapons, but he added that the level of spending would diminish somewhat in coming years.

He said Russia was not seeking a new arms race or to develop new nuclear warheads, but was instead seeking ways to improve its armaments so that they could pierce missile defenses. The deployment of NATO missile defense systems in countries near Russia has been a sore spot between Moscow and the West.

Mr. Putin said again, as he had on Thursday, that the Russian armed forces were now strong enough to repulse any attacker. He suggested that officials from the Obama administration had overreacted by pointing out that the Russian military was far weaker than that of the United States.

“Of course the U.S. has more missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers, but what we say is that we are stronger than any aggressor, and this is the case,” Mr. Putin said toward the beginning of the news conference, which typically lasts four hours or more.

“As for Donald Trump, there is nothing new about it, during his election campaign he said the U.S. needs to bolster its nuclear capabilities and its armed forces in general,” he added.

Mr. Putin said that any new Russian nuclear weapons would stay within the limits of existing treaties. Although Moscow and Washington have taken to rattling sabers more than in the past, experts said that the architecture of previous nuclear arms treaties has so far held.