Vladimir Putin says Russian rap music "should be taken over" by government

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The US withdrawal is based on the allegation that Russian Federation developed a land-based missile in violation of the treaty.

"What is stopping (us) from starting talks on them joining the current agreement or starting to discuss parameters for a new accord?" he asked. He warned of a "nuclear catastrophe" if the USA stations new missiles in Europe. If these missiles appear in Europe what should we do?

- Putin reiterated Russian denials of a series of accusations of what Western officials have called "malign activities" around the globe.

"For mankind this is very bad, because it will take us to a risky point", Putin said, expressing concern about moves to lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, including the USA decision to produce lower-yield missiles.

"Of course other countries don't possess such systems but they are gong to develop such systems and this does provide us with a certain advantage". He also warned that the lowering of thresholds relating to nuclear capability "could really lead us to catastrophe".

If the USA withdraws, "let them complain about us achieving some kind of advantage", Putin said.

When asked about Donald Trump's decision on Wednesday to begin withdrawing forces from Syria, Putin said he "generally" agreed with the USA president's decision that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had been defeated there. - Ok, we'll survive and will ensure our own security which we know how to do.

Bomb threats emailed to multiple locations across the country
Police on K Street near the White House told a Sputnik reporter they were "working on a bomb threat" late Thursday afternoon. The RCMP said it was aware of email threats made across the Canada , and urged anyone who received one to exercise caution.

Putin also noted that the US appears to show little interest in extending the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, which expires in 2021. Are the Americans not interested, do they not need them?

Nuclear war "can lead to the death of all civilisation and possibly even the planet itself", he said.

On the Russian economy, Putin hailed another year of growth after a previous period of stagnation.

Putin also addressed the recent escalation of tensions with Ukraine following a naval confrontation in the Kerch Strait off Crimea and Russia's arrest of several Ukrainian sailors.

The Russian president noted that the nation's hard currency reserves have increased from $432 billion at the start of the year to $464 billion now. Full-year growth is estimated at 1.8 percent.

Putin pledged that the government will create incentives to speed up growth.

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