The Kremlin says Russia does not want to enter a costly new arms race with the West, saying it would hurt the country’s economy.
"We are against any arms race because it naturally weakens our economic capabilities,” presidential aide Yury Ushakov said on June 17. “In principle, we are against it."
Briefing reporters on an economic conference later this week in St. Petersburg, Ushakov accused NATO of “approaching the borders of Russia,” forcing Moscow to take steps to “take measures to safeguard its own interests, its own security."
On June 16, President Vladimir Putin provoked concern in the West when he announced that Russia's nuclear arsenal would get 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles this year.
The Russian leader also said he is not particularly worried about a U.S. plan to possibly station heavy weaponry in Eastern Europe.