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Trump and Putin just released dueling statements on nuclear weapons and they’re terrifying

Russian President Vladimir and President-elect Donald J. Trump have both, nearly simultaneously, promised an expansion in their countries’ nuclear arsenals.

“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 in Moscow Thursday, according to the Russian News Agency.

Later in the day Trump echoed his soon-to-be counterpart, tweeting his intentions to amp up the United States’ already commanding nuclear arsenal:

While President Obama has promised to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal (in fact declaring early in his term his intention to create a “nuclear free world”), the President has in fact overseen an increase of over $1 trillion budgeted for a nuclear upgrade.

Under Obama’s plan, the U.S. would “modernize” its approximately 7,000 nukes over the next 30 years, which the History News Network said would be in violation of the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Trump, for his part, hasn’t elaborated if his statement means that Obama’s existing plans to “modernize” America’s nukes will be continued under his administration, or if he’s attempting to do more than his predecessor.

Russian News Agency Tass reported that Putin added “non-nuclear strategic forces also needed to be taken to a higher level of quality so that they are capable of neutralizing any military threats.”

Given Trump’s hawkish picks of Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor and Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense, the incoming administration will likely have its hands full in dealing with the Russian Federation for the next four years.


Kenneth Lipp is a journalist reporting from the Deep South to Philadelphia, covering the Cosby trial, police oversight, covert surveillance, courts, including a recent scoop on the Hemisphere Project, and the best tabloids. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.


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