"The danger of such a development of events [as a nuclear catastrophe] has been somewhat blurred, is going away. It seems impossible or to be something not so important. Meanwhile, if something like it occurs, God forbid, it can lead to the death of the whole civilization and, maybe, our planet. It is, therefore, a serious issue. So it is unfortunate that such a tendency has been in place and even gaining momentum", Putin said at his annual press conference.
"But lowering the threshold [of using nuclear weapons] could lead to a global nuclear catastrophe", Putin warned.
He, however, expressed a belief that "the humankind will have enough common sense and self-preservation not to drive the situation to extremes".
The statements come after Trump announced the country's exit from the treaty over the alleged Russian violations of the agreement. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty prohibits the development, deployment and testing of ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.