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Putin Says New Arms Race is On

(The St.Petersburg Times) MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a scathing attack on the West on Thursday, accusing Washington of imperialism and of starting a new arms race.  

Speaking a week before he meets leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrial nations in Germany, Putin said Russia’s tests on Tuesday of two new missiles were a direct response to U.S. moves to create a missile defense system. 

“We are not the initiators of this new round of the arms race,” Putin told a joint Kremlin news conference with visiting Greek President Karolos Papoulias. 

“There is no need to fear Russia’s actions: they are not aggressive,” he said. “They are a mere response to harsh and groundless unilateral actions by our partners and are aimed at maintaining the balance of forces in the world.” 

Putin’s comments, which will be popular among ordinary Russians in a year when there is a parliamentary election, are the latest in a line of harsh outbursts against the West. 

Russia on Tuesday test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple warheads and a new cruise missile, which Russian generals say are sufficient to ensure the country’s security for the next 40 years. 

“Our partners are stuffing eastern Europe with new weapons,” Putin said. “What are we supposed to do? We cannot just observe all this.” 

Moscow has been alarmed by U.S. plans to deploy elements of its global missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.  

Washington says it wants to avert attacks from “rogue states” such as Iran but Russia sees a threat to its own security. 

“There is a clear desire by some international players to dictate their will to everyone without adhering to international law,” Putin said. “International law has been replaced by political reasons.” 

“In our opinion it is nothing different from diktat, nothing different from imperialism,” he added. 

Relations between Russia and the United States are strained by issues that also include U.S. concerns that human rights and democracy are backsliding in Russia. 

Putin and Bush have a chance to discuss their countries’ differences at talks in the United States on July 1-2. 

Putin said Russia had to design new missiles after Washington quit the Cold War-era Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in order to pursue its missile shield project. 

“We warned them then that we will come out with a response to maintain the strategic balance in the world,” he said. 

“We conducted a test of a new strategic ballistic missile with multiple warheads, and of a new cruise missile, and will continue to improve our resources.” 

In another move putting Russia at odds with the West, Putin has frozen Russia’s commitments under the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) pact, which limits heavy weapons deployed between the Atlantic and the Urals mountains. 

Russia blames NATO countries for failing to ratify the 1999 version of the treaty which took into account the collapse of the Soviet Union and the departure of its Warsaw Pact allies.  

NATO believes Russia should first meets its commitment to withdraw military bases from ex-Soviet Georgia and Moldova.

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June 1, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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