Donald Trump is said to have told Vladimir Putin that if the US and Russia had an arms race, the US would win.
Mr Trump reportedly made the comments during a congratulatory call with Mr Putin last week after the Russian leader was unsurprisingly reelected as president.
Mr Putin’s claim that new nuclear-capable weapons could reach the US “really got under the president’s skin”, an official told NBC News.
“If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I’ll win”, Mr Trump reportedly responded, according to NBC.
The official White House readout of the call with Mr Putin didn’t mention such tensions.
It simply says the pair “discussed the state of bilateral relations”.
Mr Trump described the call to reporters as “very good” and said he planning to meet with Mr Putin in the near future – a remark that is said to have caught his advisers off guard.
Russia’s military on Friday conducted its second test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that Russian officials say could reach any target in the world, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.
Tensions between Russia and Western countries have been heightened in recent weeks following the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Salisbury.
The Kremlin has denied it was behind the attack, but the UK has concluded the poisoning was tied to Russia.
Dozens of Russian diplomats were expelled this week from consulates in the US and Britain – actions that Russia retaliated against with expulsions of Western diplomats and the closing of the US consulate in St Petersburg.
The US State Department said there is “no justification” for the expulsions from Russia.
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