Putin says phone call with Trump inspires optimism on arms control issues

John Bolton meets with Vladimir Putin in 2018

In a far-ranging discussion on foreign policy, President Vladimir Putin said that Russian Federation is prepared to drop the New START arms control treaty if the United States is not interested in renewing it.

Asked about Trump's tweet this week that Moscow had informed Washington it had "removed most of their people from Venezuela", Putin said that Russian experts come and go to service Russian-made weapons bought by Caracas.

Trump's domestic rivals in the Democratic Party have also voiced concern over the lack of negotiations.

Putin, who was meeting Thursday with the head of global news agencies, was responding to a question about a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week that said Moscow had informed Washington it had pulled out its personnel from Venezuela.

In March, the USA president called on Russian Federation to "get out" of Venezuela after Moscow deployed around 100 military personnel to the crisis-hit country.

The pact, signed in Prague in 2010, built on the original START I by effectively halving the number of strategic nuclear warheads and launchers the two countries could possess.

Together with another agreement known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, New START is considered a centerpiece of superpower arms control. "But we will be keeping our obligations in the sphere of military and technical cooperation". "There will be no instruments left to curb the arms race".

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More than 50 countries led by the United States lined up behind the head of the National Assembly, but Russian Federation and China have backed Maduro. Russia, which has denied any breaches, has followed suit.

"We have said 100 times already that we are ready, but no one is talking to us", he said.

At the same time, the Russian president said Moscow would not be afraid of shelving the treaty because it was developing a new generation of weapons that will "ensure Russia's security" in the long term.

"Donald told me that he is also concerned", Putin said, adding that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom he hosted the same month, also spoke "in a similar vein".

"We have to create a broad platform for discussions and decision-making", Putin said.

The Russian leader noted that arms control talks should eventually involve other nuclear powers.

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