Putin vows to strenthen Russian arms
In a tough speech outlining his vision for Russia to 2020,
Putin accused the West of ignoring Moscow's concerns on
security by expanding the NATO military alliance to its borders
and deploying a missile defense system in Central Europe.
"It is already clear that a new arms race is unfolding in
the world. It's not our fault, we didn't start it," Putin told
government, business and military leaders at the Kremlin, three
months before his presidency is due to end.
"In effect, we are forced to retaliate...Russia has and
always will have a response to these new challenges," he added.
Apparently referring to plans for new nuclear-capable
missiles, Putin said "over the next few years Russia will start
production of new types of weapons which...are in no way
inferior to what other states have and in some cases are
The new "arms race" Putin says, is part and parcel of a growing global scramble for resources.
"Under the disguise of turgid declarations about freedom
and open society, sometimes the sovereignty of certain states
and whole regions is being destroyed," Putin said, in an
apparent reference to U.S. policy in the Middle East and in
particular the war in Iraq.