Dec 20, 2018 17:20 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Sep 22, 2019 21:55 Asia/Tehran]

Russian President warned on the possibility of a nuclear war and the destruction of the planet.

Iran Press/ Europe: The current situation, characterized by increasing military tensions, can lead to a nuclear war that will destroy the planet, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.                                     

"The world underestimates the graveness of possible developments of current events, said Vladimir Putin during an annual news conference that gathered over 2,000 journalists at the Moscow International Trade Center congress hall, Iran Press reported.

The US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and its intention to end the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty -- which are pillars of the international arms control system -- decrease the nuclear arms application threshold, and in turn, it can lead to a global nuclear catastrophe, Putin said.

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"I hope mankind will have enough common sense not to drive to the extremities," he added.

Putin in this massive news conference evaluated the main events of 2018, since he was reelected as president for the fourth term.

Speaking about recent developments in Syria, Russian President said that the US withdrawal of troops from the war-torn country is a possibility but there have been no concrete steps taken as yet.

US President Donald Trump declared victory over ISIS in Syria on Wednesday and announced the withdrawal of troops within 60 to 100 days.

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Putin said Washington promises to pull back its soldiers from Afghanistan every year but US troops have remained in the country for 17 years.

He said Russia is satisfied with the developments on the Syrian crisis settlement.

On Russian-Turkish relations, Putin said both countries are working for strengthening bilateral relations in different domains, including fight against terrorism and economy.

"Turkey pursues an independent international policy, we appreciate it very much, this creates predictability and stability of the relations. In this sense, the role of the Turkish president is great. We hope, this tendency will be continued under further leadership of [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan," he said.

Commenting on the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi case, Putin drew parallels with Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal's poisoning in the U.K.

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Putin said Khashoggi was killed and Skirpal is alive, yet all remains calm in the first case, while in the second a string of sanctions were imposed.

Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident journalist, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After producing various contradictory explanations, Riyadh acknowledged he was killed inside the diplomatic building.

Relations between Russia and the U.K. have been tense since March when Sergei Skripal and his daughter came under an alleged nerve agent attack in the southern English Salisbury city.

The British authorities alleged Russia was behind the attempted murder, a charge Moscow denies.

U.K. expelled 23 Russian diplomats -- and 121 diplomats were expelled world-wide as a diplomatic crisis brewed.

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