Putin cautious over ‘new arms race’
Russia’s president says US and Nato are ignorant of the country’s security concerns.
Relations between Russia and Nato have been strained because of Washington’s plans to station a defence shield in Europe, Moscow’s suspension of a landmark arms treaty and disagreements over the future of Kosovo.
Putin criticised what he calls Nato’s “muscle-flexing” on Russia’s borders and a planned US missile defence shield.
However, he has increased military spending during his eight-year presidency and has approved large-scale military exercises.
Defending Russia’s position, Putin said: “It’s not our fault, we didn’t start … funnelling multi-billions of dollars into developing weapons systems.”
“We drew down our bases in Cuba and in Vietnam. What did we get? New American bases in Romania, Bulgaria. A new third missile defence region in Poland,” he said.
Putin said that Washington had used consultations with Moscow as “merely an information and diplomatic cover for implementing their plans.”
The Kremlin has said that plans by the US to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic would threaten Russia’s security.