MOSCOW — Russia will continue to build up its military might with large-scale weapons purchases in order to meet any threat, particularly from the United States and NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
Putin cited the United States’ continued development of a missile defense system in Europe and Alaska as a major threat, but not the only one.
“There are other things that bother us,” Putin told senior officials who were meeting to discuss a 10-year arms-buying program.
“Military space exploration continues, the issue of the use of non-nuclear strategic weapons is being studied, and so on and so on,” he continued. “A lot of threats are emerging. Recently, as you know, there was a decision made to expand NATO forces in Eastern Europe.”
Putin accused NATO of manipulating events in Ukraine for strategic advantage. “The crisis in Ukraine, which was provoked and created by some of our Western partners, is now being used to reanimate that military bloc,” he said.
The Kremlin started a major program to overhaul its army and navy in 2011, with plans to spend more than $500 billion through 2020. Putin said Wednesday that Russia needed to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers of certain weapons and military components, and expand its own ability to make everything the military needs.
He spoke the day before a US delegation was scheduled to visit Moscow to discuss US allegations Russia had violated a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty banning intermediate-range missiles based on land.