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Russia not seeking arms race, but a balance of power — Putin

President Putin emphasized that Russia is not interested in an arms race

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Moscow is not interested in an arms race and only seeks to maintain the balance of power, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference on Thursday.

"Generally, this is simply an element of containing and evening parities in the strategic balance. This is what it is. This means keeping parity and nothing more than that," the Russian leader said, speaking about the newest breakthrough missile defense systems developed by Russia.

"We do not seek advantages but we keep the balance and ensure our security," the president stressed.

As the Russian leader stressed, "in actual fact, today we observe the disintegration of the international system of armaments and arms race containment."

After the United States quit the ABM Treaty that was a cornerstone in the sphere of the nuclear weapons non-proliferation, Russia was forced to respond by creating new weapon systems capable of breaching these anti-ballistic missile defenses, the Russian leader said.

As Putin noted, the United States is ready to make one more step and withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

"It is very difficult to imagine how the situation will develop further. And what do we have to do, if these missiles appear in Europe? Of course, we will have to ensure our security, using some steps, so let them not whine that we are gaining some advantages," Putin said, adding that this also related to the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the new START Treaty) expiring in 2021.