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Putin: Russia Should Develop Offensive Arms To Counter U.S.


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is quoted as saying that Russia must develop offensive weapons systems to counter U.S. missile-defense plans.

State news agencies quote Putin as saying that to preserve the balance of power "we must develop offensive weapons systems, not missile-defense systems as the United States is doing."

Putin, speaking on a visit to Russia's Far East region, described missile-defense systems as expensive and unproven.

He said they upset the balance of power by giving a false sense of security and making "our partners" feel they can "do whatever they want."

Putin's remarks come as Moscow and Washington are negotiating a successor accord to the START nuclear disarmament treaty, which expired December 5. The treaty set limits on both sides' nuclear arsenals.

Putin also said that U.S. plans for a missile-defense system are the main obstacle to agreeing a new nuclear disarmament treaty.

The two sides say they are close to agreeing a successor accord to the START treaty, which expired in early December, but have yet to reach a deal.

Asked by a reporter what the biggest problem was in the talks, Putin said the problem was that "our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one."

In September, U.S. President Barack Obama scrapped Bush-era plans to place elements of a missile-defense system in central Europe.

Obama's revised plans foresee a more mobile system of missile interceptors at sea and on land.

compiled from agency reports