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Putin slams ‘aggressive’ new US defence strategy
December 23, 2017
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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday described the new defence strategy unveiled by US counterpart Donald Trump as “aggressive,” saying Moscow would take that into account in its own actions.

But he said that although Russia must strive to develop a new and modern army it would not be drawn into a new arms race or aspire to be a “world policeman” and instead be creative.

Speaking to an assembly of Russia’s top military brass, Putin slammed the National Security Strategy unveiled earlier this week by Donald Trump, and condemned “offensive” Nato activity in Europe.

“In diplomatic terms, it has an obviously offensive character, and if we were to use military language, it is obviously aggressive,” Putin said of the ‘America First’ strategy.

“We must take this into account during our practical work.”

“Let’s call things by their name, concerning Europe, infrastructure being created there is offensive infrastructure,” he said.

He accused the US of violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty dating from 1987 which eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles with short and intermediate range.

“Launching systems for air defence missiles can become systems for intermediate range cruise missiles at any moment,” Putin said. “The US is on its way to destroying the INF treaty.”

“We have the sovereign right to react adequately and timely to such potential threats,” Putin said, asking the senior officers to adapt Russia’s strategy if needed.

The Kremlin previously denounced the “imperialist character” of the US strategy, which accused Moscow of aiming to “weaken US influence in the world and divide us from our allies and partners” while calling Moscow’s nuclear arsenal an “existential threat.”

Although Russia’s military budget is just a fraction of that of the Pentagon’s, Putin said it will continue developing new technology and even strive to be a leader in some areas in order to ensure its interests in the world are protected.

“Russia must be among the leading countries, and in some areas the absolute leader, when it comes to building a new-generation army,” Putin said. “This is important to ensure our sovereignty.”

“We must follow the change in the world’s balance of power, first and foremost near Russia’s borders and in Europe, where Nato infrastructure is being built up quickly.”

Agence France-Presse

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