Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Russia's Putin vows to strengthen army in response to NATO system

Russian Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Source: Press TV

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has once again censured the establishment of a NATO missile system in Europe, pledging to counter the measure by strengthening the Russian army.

Russia must have a powerful army to counter the foreign powers’ efforts in creating tension near Russian borders, Putin wrote in an article in the Russian Rusiskaja newspaper.

He also said that Russia will spend $770 billion in the next decade to upgrade its weapons and military equipment. He added that Russia must counter the system by expanding its airspace defense systems in addition to developing the country’s strategic nuclear weapons.

Turkey has accepted to host the US-made radar system in the Kurecik district of the southeastern province of Malatya.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the system is aimed at protecting Europe from “threats” emanating from outside the continent.

In late November, 2011, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered that a new missile early warning system be activated in Kaliningrad, a Baltic region bordering EU countries, in response to US plans for a missile shield in Europe.

"I expect that this step will be seen by our partners as the first signal of the readiness of our country to make an adequate response to the threats which the missile shield poses for our strategic nuclear forces," Medvedev said.

The US wants to have the system ready by 2020. Under President George W Bush, Washington was planning to set up the major parts of the system in Poland and the Czech Republic, but faced Russia’s serious objection.

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