President Donald Trump reportedly refused an offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin to purchase nuclear weapons according to a report Thursday from Reuters.
According to the report, the Russian president offered over the phone a chance for the U.S. to avoid a nuclear arms race with Russia by offering the U.S. president the option of purchasing hypersonic nuclear weapons that the Eastern European country is currently developing. According to the report, Trump refused the Russian president’s offer.
“If you want, we can sell you some and this way we will balance everything out,” Putin allegedly said to Trump according to comments he made to a state-run Russian news outlet.
According to a report from Business Insider, Putin’s comments were made at an economic forum where he expressed dissatisfaction of the recent crumbling of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which was agreed upon during the Cold War and existed to prevent a nuclear arms race. The United States pulled out of the agreement after it claimed that Russia had violated it. Russia has denied claims that it violated the now-defunct INF.
Following the U.S.’s withdrawal from INF, the United States tested a missile that reached a target at a distance greater than 500km from its launch point, which exceeded limitations that were set by the treaty, per Reuters.
The Russian president also claimed that Russia was ready to have a “dialogue” on nuclear weapons, though that the U.S. had yet to give it an answer on the discussions.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) September 5, 2019
As Business Insider noted, the United States is highly unlikely to ever accept weapons from Russia as a purchase would require the adoption of networks that Russia could potentially disrupt should it desire to do so.
According to the Reuters report, Putin said that he was concerned over reports that the United States would deploy missiles in Japan and South Korea, and claimed he feared that these missiles would cover Russian territory.
The Russian president also said he was fearful that an arms race could lead the United Sates to develop a new “space weapon,” per Reuters.
The U.S. president, meanwhile, last week held a ceremony to announce the creation of his long-promised Space Force, which as The Guardian notes, has not yet received final approval by Congress.
“It’s a big deal,” Trump said at the 10-minute ceremony last week.
Trump said that space was “the next war-fighting domain. And I think that’s pretty obvious to everybody.”