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Putin stresses Russia has right to respond to US military buildup in Europe

The president added that Russia’s nuclear forces provide reliable strategic deterrence

BALASHIKHA, December 22. /TASS/. Russia’s nuclear forces provide reliable strategic deterrence, but it is necessary to further develop them, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an enlarged board meeting of the Defense Ministry on Friday.

"Today our nuclear forces operate at a level, which provides reliable strategic deterrence but at the same time we need to further develop them," the Russian leader said.

Response to threats 

Russia has a sovereign right to adequately respond to threats of aggressive development of military infrastructure, particularly of the United States in Europe, Vladimir Putin stressed.

"Russia has the sovereign right and capabilities to adequately and timely respond to such potential threats," Putin emphasized. 

"If necessary I ask to operatively prepare and submit feasible proposals on adjustments of documents of military planning and on promotion of the country’s defense level," the president said.

Putin also said that the US policies in regard to the INF Treaty undermine the level of security in Europe as well as in the whole world.

The Russian president reiterated that starting next year Russia begins implementing the new state armament program, which had been discussed in detail at sessions with the high command of the Defense Ministry and directors of defense enterprises in Sochi.

"The particular focus must be on the provision of armed forces with air-, ground-and sea-based high precision weapons, with unmanned aerial striking platforms, as well as on the provision of troops with individual combat gear and with the latest reconnaissance, communications and electronic warfare systems," Putin said.

The president ordered to begin implementation of all these plans starting with the opening months of the next year.

"We will exercise a constant control over it," Putin added.

'Balance of power' along Russia's borders

The Russian president has called on the Defense Ministry to carefully watch the changing balance of power near Russia’s borders and in the world in general, with the focus on the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and Europe.

"Any change in the balance of power and military and political environment in the world should be monitored very carefully, namely near Russia’s borders and also in the strategically important regions for our security. This concerns the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, which is a conflict-prone region, and also Europe, where NATO and US infrastructure is boosted by leaps and bounds," Putin said.

Putin named this task as one of priorities for the Defense Ministry in the near future.

According to the Russian leader, the situation around Syria and the military and political environment in the world confirms that the government had made the right decisions to reinforce the army and the fleet, and channel funds for military construction.

US National Security Strategy 

Vladimir Putin has described the new US National Security Strategy as aggressive. 

"The US has recently unveiled its new defense strategy. Speaking the diplomatic language, it is obviously offensive, and, if we switch to the military language, it is certainly aggressive," the head of state noted.

"We must take this into account in our practical work," he said.

"Let’s call a spade a spade. Concerning developments in Europe, the issue at hand is the offensive infrastructure, which is being created there. Unfortunately, the issue at hand is also violations of the provisions of the 1987 Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles by the United States," Putin said.

He cited Romania and Poland as an example. "The US universal missile defense system launch facilities have been deployed to Romania and are being deployed to Poland," the president said. According to Putin, technically they are meant for interceptor missiles, but, in actual fact, these are universal launchers. "They can also be used for launching the existing sea-based cruise missiles with a range of 2,500 km, and in that case they cease to be sea-based missiles, they can easily be moved to the coast. That is, interceptor missile launchers can become launching platforms for medium-range cruise missiles," Putin said.