President Vladimir Putin has vowed to continue a sweeping military modernization effort, saying a "powerful army equipped with modern weapons is the guarantor of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia."1
Speaking on June 25 at a Kremlin meeting with graduates of military academies, Putin also said that Moscow has no aggressive intentions and aims to "settle any disputes exclusively by political means with respect to international law and interests of other nations."
Russia's military modernization plan aims to spend 22 trillion rubles (more than $400 billion) through 2020.
Putin's comments come a day after NATO member states agreed to increase the strength and capability of the alliance's rapid-response force and approved other measures aimed at responding “more rapidly and more effectively to threats."
Relations between Moscow and the West have dropped to their lowest point since the Cold War after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.