Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with the heads of international news agencies during the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
"We must understand what kind of world we are living in. Now everyone is dealing with environmental issues, and that's right thing to do, even children are engaged in it. But young people are not aware of the global threat, serious challenge related to possible global conflicts. This should be considered adult people. I have the impression that these issues became secondary. It is disturbing," he said, opening the meeting.
Putin commented on the U.S. decision to exit the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. "Did any of you actively protest or take to the streets with placards? No, there was calmness, as if this was what should be. This was the first step towards fundamentally shaking the entire framework of international relations in the sphere of global security, a very serious step," the Russian leader stressed.
Now the United States has actually decided unilaterally to terminate its participation in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Russian president noted.
Moreover, if in the case with the ABM Treaty they "behaved honestly and simply withdrew unilaterally and this was all," now, "apparently understanding that they will have to bear responsibility for that, they are trying to shift [the responsibility for that] onto Russia," he said.
Putin recalled the INF clauses on the ban on placing the launchers of intermediate-and shorter-range missiles on the land, stressing that despite this, the United States had delivered such launching systems to Romania and was going to deploy them in Poland. The Russian leader stressed that this is a direct breach of the INF Treaty.
Putin also drew attention to other armaments that were being developed. "All are pretending as if they do not see anything in this regard, do not hear, cannot read and are deaf and blind. But we are forced to react to this somehow," the Russian president said.
As the Russian president stressed, in case that the New START Treaty is terminated in 2021, "there will generally be no instruments limiting the arms race;" however, up to now, no party is holding negotiations with Russia on extending the New START Treaty, although Moscow has numerously confirmed its readiness for this process.
"Well, it is possible not to extend it. We have the most advanced systems that will reliably ensure Russia’s security for quite a long historical perspective: I mean we have made a major step forward and it can be said directly that we have outpaced our rivals in creating hyper[sonic] weapons," Putin said.
"Anyhow, my latest conversation with President Trump inspires certain optimism, I would say, because Donald told me he was concerned over that as well. He said he understood how much money the United States and other world nations spend on arms and this money could be used for other purposes. I share this point of view," TASS cited him as saying.
Commenting on the Venezuela situation, the head of state said that Russia "stands for non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, because it leads to tragic consequences."
He noted that U.S. military intervention in Venezuela would be a disaster and said even Washington's allies did not support such a course of action.
The Russian leader also said that Russian technical specialists remained in Venezuela in order to service Russian military hardware, something he said they were contractually obliged to do.
Putin noted that Russia feels absolutely comfortable with the oil price of $60-65 per barrel. "The price of $60–65 per barrel is fairly comfortable for us, we have no need to push it upwards," he said.
The Russian leader noted that Russia’s budget, unlike Saudi Arabia’s, envisages the oil price of $40 per barrel that is why the Middle Eastern state wants higher prices, but they are not necessary for Russia.