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Putin says 'nothing unusual' about Trump's nuclear call
[MOSCOW] Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said there was "nothing unusual" about US President-elect Donald Trump's call to boost America's nuclear capability.
"As concerns the new president-elect of the United States Mr Trump, there is nothing new here. During his election campaign he spoke about the necessity of strengthening the nuclear component of the United States, to strengthen the armed forces. There is nothing unusual here," Mr Putin said at his annual press conference.
Mr Trump on Thursday wrote on Twitter that the US must massively bolster its nuclear capabilities, without providing details or context, a day after meeting a group of Pentagon top brass, and shortly after Mr Putin called for Russia to reinforce its own nuclear capabilities.
"The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes," Mr Trump tweeted.
The open talk of ramping up nuclear capabilities - reminiscent of Cold War pledges - marks a jarring departure from the stance of President Barack Obama, who in a famous speech in Prague in 2009 called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Mr Trump's remark came after Mr Putin told military top brass, "we need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces," while boasting about the Russian army's performance in its Syria campaign.
Russia's focus should be on "missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defence systems," the Kremlin strongman added.