US President Donald Trump said during his last call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the United States would win the arms race if the two countries started one.
This was reported by NBC News, citing information from two officials.
Trump had a telephone conversation with Putin on March 20 after the Russian presidential election. “If you want an arms race, we can do it, but I will win,” officials quote Trump as saying.
Trump added that he hoped Putin's comments were just selective rhetoric, and also boasted that he had signed a $700 billion defense budget, the largest in US history.
Trump made no official mention of tensions with Putin after the call, telling reporters that the two leaders had a “very good conversation” and that he plans to meet with Putin soon to discuss reducing the arms race.
National security advisers to the American leader told the TV channel that it is not yet known whether a meeting between Trump and Putin will take place, since the US president “offers a personal meeting in almost all of his telephone conversations with foreign leaders as a formal courtesy.”