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Russia must upgrade its weapons systems: Putin
December 31, 2009
MOSCOW: Russia must develop offensive weapons systems to counter US missile defences and prevent Americans feeling they can ''do whatever they want'', the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, says.
''To preserve the balance we must develop offensive weapons systems, not missile defence systems as the United States is doing,'' state news agencies quoted him as saying.
''The problems of missile defence and offensive arms are very closely linked,'' ITAR-Tass quoted him saying.
''By building such an umbrella over themselves, our partners could feel themselves fully secure and will do whatever they want, which upsets the balance, and aggressiveness immediately increases in real politics and economics.''
In September the US President, Barack Obama, said the US would drop the plans of his predecessor, George Bush, fiercely opposed by Moscow, to deploy parts of its new missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. But Mr Obama made clear that Washington would continue to develop ballistic missile defences in other ways and locations.
Russia cautiously welcomed the shift but said the new configuration would require further study and information.
Mr Putin's comments marked a toughening of Moscow's stance on strategic relations with the US. ''Let the Americans hand over all their information on missile defence and we are ready to hand over all the information on offensive weapons systems,'' he said.
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