>> For months, Russia has been warning that threats by the White House to cancel a Cold War era nuclear treaty would lead to a new arms race. On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin drove the point once more that it would have unpredictable and dangerous consequences, and that it required thinking about the unthinkable, the risk of nuclear war itself.
> Putin is talking about a pact called the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
It bans the two world powers from stationing short and medium-range ballistic missiles on European soil. But the United States claims Russia has not complied. That a missile in its arsenal violates the treaty, and earlier this month gave a 60 day ultimatum to come clean. Russia maintains its missile is compliant, but won't let US inspectors see it.
The Russian president made all these comments at a marathon three hour news conference he holds at the end of each year. Among other subjects, he also reflected on the US troop draw down in Syria. Putin said he more or less agreed with President Donald Trump's assessment that Islamic State has been defeated in Syria, but that he was skeptical the US would pull out to the degree the White House has claimed.