MOSCOW, June 20. /TASS/. Russia retains leading positions in developing modern weaponry, despite consistent cuts in military spending, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual televised Q&A session on Thursday.
"But, perhaps, the most interesting thing is that we are the sole great military power, which is cutting its military spending, as it is. This spending equaled 3.4% of GDP in 2017, which is quite a substantial figure for us. In 2018, it already dropped to slightly over 3% and in 2019 this figure will make up less than 3%, namely, 2.9%, and it will decrease to 2.87% next year and to 2.8% in 2021," the Russian leader said.
"We have a trend towards military spending cuts. No other big country is doing this but what is interesting and what we should undoubtedly draw attention to and be proud of is that despite these quite modest military expenditures, we are ensuring both military and nuclear parity and turn out to be two steps ahead of our rivals," Putin said.
No country in the world has such advanced technological weapons, which Russia possesses, Putin stressed.
"I mean our missile technology, hypersonic missile armament. This is precisely what we should draw attention to and this circumstance should evoke pride for our country and a feeling of respect for people who are working in the field of defense and science, defense production and for people who are engaged in military development and in organizing this process," the Russian leader noted.
Speaking about the defense budget, Putin recalled two popular sayings: "If you want peace, prepare for war," and "Those who do not feed their own army, will feed the enemy."
The Russian leader also gave the data on the military budgets of other countries: the United States is the leader as "it spends $720 billion and makes a request for almost $750 billion." China is in the 2nd place with its $715 billion military spending. The other big military spenders are Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France and Japan while Russia is only in the 7th place with its $48 billion spending, Putin said.
Putin also said that one of the messages sent to him argued that the might of a country in the contemporary world is determined not so much by Poseidon and Peresvet or some other weapons as by the economic might. "This is absolutely correct. Precisely for this purpose, we are organizing our work to ensure our economic might within the framework of national projects," Putin stressed.