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Russia accuses US of starting new arms race

Journalists gather in front of a screen as they follow Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing his annual press conference via a video link from the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, at the World Trade Centre's congress center in Moscow on December 17, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic. (Photo by AFP)

Marina Kortunova
Press TV, Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual press conference. This year it was held in a new format - video conferencing because of pandemic.

The end-of-year Q&A session is a rare chance to get President Putin to answer important issues and draw attention to the country’s problems. It has long become one of the biggest media events in the country, broadcasted live on main news channels and radio stations in Russia for the whole duration.

Speaking about the New START arms control treaty between Washington and Moscow, Putin accused the US of starting a new arms race. Putin reiterated his call, urging Washington to extend the New START arms control treaty for one year.

Putin said he believed US President-elect Joe Biden is open to dialog on the issue, but added Russia needs some reaction from the US.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty also known as START is the last remaining agreement that maintains a nuclear balance between the two countries.

Putin also said that the unfounded poisoning scenario of opposition politician Alexei Navalny was in fact part of a US-backed plot, repeated by media, to try to discredit the Russian leader. He stressed that Navalny was not important enough to be a target.

Navalny, 44, was taken ill on a domestic flight on August 20. He was later transported to the German capital. German doctors, however, claimed Navalny had been poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Since then, Germany and other Western governments have been attacking Russia with accusations that it poisoned Navalny. Moscow has repeatedly and strongly rejected the allegation.

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