Putin says he offered Trump the chance to buy Russian hypersonic weapons

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he offered President Donald Trump the chance to buy Russian hypersonic missiles, supposedly to stop a US-Russia arms race.
  • "If you want, we can sell you some and this way we will balance everything out," Putin said he told Trump, according to Russian state media.
  • Trump, according to Putin, refused, telling the Russian leader that the US is building its own weapons.
  • True or not, Putin's story about his talk with Trump appears designed to further the Russian narrative that Moscow is the reasonable party while Washington is igniting a dangerous arms race.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he recently offered President Donald Trump the chance to purchase some of Russia's new weapons, including hypersonic missiles, purportedly to prevent an arms race.

The Russian president said that he told Trump in a recent phone call that the US could buy some of the hypersonic nuclear weapons Russia is working on, thus creating a kind of balance. But Trump refused, telling him that the US is building its own weapons, Reuters reported.

"If you want, we can sell you some and this way we will balance everything out," the Russian president said he told Trump, according to Russia's state-run TASS news agency.

Putin's comments, the truth of which is uncertain, were delivered at an economic forum, where he again lamented the recent collapse of a Cold War-era arms control agreement between Washington and Moscow, a pact the US and NATO accused Russia of violating.

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Russia displays latest weapons at International Military Technical Forum
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Russia displays latest weapons at International Military Technical Forum
A visitor passes a model of a guided robot-style system presented by the Concern Kalashnikov during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, second right, and the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Environment and Transport Sergei Ivanov, left, walk during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian heavy flamethrower system TOS-1 fires during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
A participant holds a rifle during the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A man, left, wears a working sample of a passive exoskeleton combat gear, next to a mannequin dressed in a prototype of an active exoskeleton combat gear presented by the Russian Rostec company during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
New "Izh Pulsar" electric motorcycles are on display presented by the Concern Kalashnikov during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Foreign military visitors observe the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attends the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
An AK-308 rifle is on display during the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov attends the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Participants attend the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during the opening ceremony of the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov (2nd L, front) speaks with top military officers during the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (2nd R, front) and Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov (R, front) attend the annual international military-technical forum "ARMY" at Patriot Expocentre in Moscow Region, Russia August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - AUGUST 21, 2018: A ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system during a dynamic exposition at the Army 2018 International Military and Technical Forum, in Patriot Park. Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS (Photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko\TASS via Getty Images)
A foreign military visitor holds an AK-202 assault rifle presented by the Concern Kalashnikov during the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Foreign military visitors observe the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Russia has displayed its latest weapons at a military show aimed at attracting more foreign customers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during the opening ceremony of the International Military Technical Forum Army-2018 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Sergei Shoigu emphasized that most new weapons at the show have proven their worth during the Syrian campaign. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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Read more: The US fired off a previously banned missile, the first since the collapse of a Cold War-era nuclear-arms pact with Russia

A couple of weeks after the US formally pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty over alleged Russian violations, the US conducted its first post-INF Treaty weapons test, firing off a conventional ground-launched cruise missile that exceeded the range limitations of the now-defunct agreement.

Read more: The US just entered a great-power arms race in a big way — and Russia and China are panicking

Russia has said repeatedly that it will match American efforts missile for missile. Putin reiterated that point Thursday, explaining that "of course, we will produce such missiles." While Russia insists it did not violate the INF Treaty, there is strong evidence that it had already developed and fielded such weapons.

Putin's story appears to be another effort by Russia to present itself as the reasonable party while arguing that the US is dragging the two countries into an arms race, one Russia may have actually started years ago with its development of the Novator 9M729 missile, which NATO refers to as SSC-8.

Putin said Thursday that "Russia is ready for this dialogue," but it has "not received a clear answer from the Americans."

It would be highly unlikely the US would ever accept Russian weapons, which also require launchers and integration into command and control networks and still have a risk that Russia could disrupt them.

The Russian president's stated offer to Trump may be untrue. But Trump, in a peculiar tweet after Russia's recent deadly missile accident, said, "The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology."

Russia is believed to have been working with the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, a weapon NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.

It is unclear to what technology Trump might have been referring in his tweet, but the US is working on a number of new projects as it looks more closely at the threats and challenges of great power competition.

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