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Merkel, Trump Voice Concern Over Putin's New Weapons Claims

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and U.S. President Donald Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump have expressed concern after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country has deployed or is developing an array of new nuclear-capable weapons.

Merkel and Trump said the weapons would have a negative impact on “international arms control efforts,” according to a German government statement on March 2. The two spoke by telephone on March 1.

In his annual state-of-the-nation speech on March 1, Putin boasted that Russia had developed new weapons, claiming many of them could hit almost any part of the world and evade U.S. antimissile defenses.

Reacting to Putin’s remarks, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that Russia had been developing destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in violation of its treaty obligations.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on March 2 denied Russia was in breach of any international arms control pacts.

Peskov also said that Putin's speech would not increase Russia's international isolation and did not herald the start of a new arms race.

"Russia does not plan to get dragged into any arms race," Peskov said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters