Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that international powers should refrain from engaging in global conflict to avoid “an end of civilization” caused by a new world war.
Putin’s comments came on a live TV call-in interview.
On the question of whether or not the world may see a World War III, Putin referenced a quote by Albert Einstein: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Einstein alluded to the fact that the next world war would likely wipe out modern civilization, a point that Putin agrees with.
“Understating of the fact that World War III could be an end of the modern civilization should deter the world from any radical and highly dangerous actions that could [threaten] the modern civilization,” Putin said.
“As you remember, we’ve been living in a period of relative peace following the second World War,” Putin continued. “We know there are regional conflicts out there … but we’ve never had any global conflicts. Why? Global military power has established a strategic parity.”
Putin also said that, even during the Cold War, “it was a fear of mutual destruction” that prevented countries from making any decisions that could lead to warfare and ultimately “instilled respect.”
Speaking on the U.S., Putin said that decisions made over the last few decades – including the unilateral withdrawal by the U.S. from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union – are attempts “to disrupt this strategic parity.”
Because of this, Putin said, Russia needs to continue to develop its military and weapons in order to keep the balance.
Put said that the sanctions and accusations from the West are also “counterproductive,” and they harm countries like the U.S. just as much as Russia.
Rather than being a “means of deterring Russia’s development, the policy is flawed,” Putin claimed.
“One should not ‘deter’ anyone, including Russia, but should develop constructive cooperation instead,” Putin argued.