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Putin And Trump Set The Stage For Nuclear Arms Race

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump both called on their countries to bulk up their nuclear arsenals so they can handle threats.

"We need to strengthen the strategic nuclear forces, for that we should develop missiles capable of penetrating any current and prospective missile defense systems," Putin said at a Russian Defense Ministry meeting on Dec. 22, according to Russian news agency Tass.

The main international defense system most capable of intercepting those missiles is NATO, notes The Washington Post.

The Russian leader said that nearly 60 percent of Russia's armaments are modern but called on the nation to bring the non-nuclear forces "to a higher level of quality so that they are capable of neutralizing any military threats."

As high of a level of quality as, for example, the nation's nuclear triad, which includes intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles as well as strategic bombers.

"The state of the nuclear triad that plays a key role in keeping strategic parity was maintained at the proper level," said Putin.

Also on Dec. 22, Trump tweeted that America "must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capabilities until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." He did not elaborate on the context of his tweet.

Since the late 1980s, the U.S., Russia, and other world powers have sought to reduce their nuclear stockpiles, in accordance with several international treaties like the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 2010.

But throughout his unconventional campaign, Trump called to update America's nuclear power to keep it on par with Russia and other countries' programs.

"Our nuclear program has fallen way behind, and they've gone wild with their nuclear program," he said during an October presidential debate against former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to CNN. "Not good. Our government shouldn't have allowed that to happen. We are old. We're tired. We're exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing."

Sources: Tass, The Washington Post, CNN / Photo credit: US Defense Watch

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