MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said he offered to sell President Trump Russia’s latest weapons, including hypersonic missile systems, as part of efforts to revive strategic arms talks with the United States.
The question of how to include Russia’s new weapons in any arms agreement was raised at talks with Trump during the Group of 20 summit in Japan in June, Putin said Thursday at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
“I told Donald, ‘If you want, we’ll sell them to you, and that’s how we keep everything balanced right away,’ ” Putin said at the plenary session, also attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Premier Narendra Modi.
While the US side argued it would soon have such weapons, Putin said, “why waste money when we have already spent it and we can get something for it that doesn’t harm our security?”
The United States has not responded to the offer and “remains silent” on Russian proposals to reduce the arms race, Putin said, after the collapse last month of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, which banned short- and medium-range missiles.
The 2010 New START treaty limiting the US and Russian strategic arsenals is the only nuclear weapons agreement between the two powers still in force, and it’s due to expire early in 2021.
Putin said another option would be to agree on methods of counting Russia’s new weapons in overall arms agreements. The United States conducted a flight test of a new intermediate-range cruise missile on Aug. 18, two weeks after withdrawing from the INF treaty. Putin last year showed off a series of new Russian weapons that he said could evade any US missile-defense shield, in response to the American withdrawal from the 2002 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Russia sparked international concern last month when a deadly blast at a remote military facility caused a spike in radiation and killed five atomic scientists. Putin said the accident occurred during “work on promising weapons systems,” while Trump tweeted that Russia was testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile unveiled by the Russian leader last year.