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Putin calls for asymmetric response to US missile defence in Europe

He blamed the United States for the attempt to break the strategic balance in the world

ALABINO, February 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for an asymmetric response to U.S. missile defence in Europe.

He blamed the United States for the attempt to break the strategic balance in the world.

“The ABM Treaty, on the one hand, and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, on the other hand, ensured a balance, including that expressed in the international legal form. Americans destroyed one of these elements. So what should we do? Either we have to create our own missile defence or give an asymmetric answer,” Putin said at a meeting with the commanders of army divisions and brigades on Wednesday, February 22.

The former is costly and inexpedient at the moment, he said, thus giving preference to an asymmetric response.

Russia will strengthen its air defence capabilities, including air defence systems around Moscow and in strategic forces, build new tracking stations in addition to three existing ones, and create “such systems for which missile defence will not be an obstacle”.

“Topol-M and Yars at sea are a new generation of missiles. In this respect we can say that we are slightly ahead of our American partners because they have yet to upgrade their nuclear forces,” Putin said.

“But they have gone much further than we in terms of making and using high-precision weapons, but we are working on this too,” the prime minister said, adding that Russia has “good prospects” in this respect.

“All this will be our asymmetric response,” he added.

Putin said earlier that Russia cannot be indifferent to whether the U.S. missile defence system will appear near its border or not.

“It's not all the same to us where these systems will appear, closer or farther away from our border. It is not all the same to us whether they will appear in Georgia, after all, or not,” he said.

He stressed that the United States has not given any guarantees regarding its missile defence plans. “Do we have guarantees? None,” Putin said.

The prime minister also accused the United States of attempts to dominate the world and challenging internal political procedures in other countries as a tool for achieving that goal.