While meeting with National Security Adviser John Bolton, Russian President Vladimir Putin made mocking remarks over the American seal.
“I have a question: Has your eagle picked all the olives and only has arrows left?” Putin while laughing, taking a shot at President Trump’s plans to withdraw from the arms treaty with Russia, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The Great Seal of the United States features a bald eagle holding 13 arrows and an olive branch with 13 olives.
— RT (@RT_com) October 24, 2018
Putin met with Bolton after two days of discussions with top Russian officials on foreign policy and security.
“Despite our differences which exist because of our different national interests, it’s still important to work in areas where there is a possibility of mutual cooperation,” Bolton said.
“Hopefully, I will have some answers for you,” Bolton added. “But I didn’t bring any more olives.”
“That’s what I thought,” Putin replied.
Trump announced on Sunday that he would be withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Bolton reiterated the President’s words by saying the U.S. had evidence of Russia’s ongoing missile testing and deployment, which violated the treaty.
“The treaty was outmoded, being violated and being ignored by other countries,” Bolton said. “Under that view, exactly one country was constrained by the INF Treaty — the United States.”
Critics of President Trump’s decision said that Russia could be persuaded to comply with the treaty without canceling it. Bolton, however, did not agree on that alternative.
“One has to ask how you convince the Russians to come back into compliance with obligations they don’t think they are violating,” he said.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, called the U.S. decision “risky” and criticized the U.S. for canceling the deal instead of negotiating a replacement.
“Ruining the treaty in a situation where even hints at concluding a new one do not exist is something that we do not welcome,” Peskov said, according to USA Today, citing Tass News agency.
“For now, there are no prospects for the emergence of a new document,” he added. “Quitting the agreement first and then discussing the hypothetical, ephemeral possibility of concluding a new treaty is a pretty risky stance.”
The INF Treaty dates back to 1987 and was signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. It restrains the U.S. and Russia from owning, developing, or testing ground-based nuclear cruise missiles of an intermediate range of 300-3,4000 miles.