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Moscow Says Unfazed By U.S. Defense Spending As Long As Balance Preserved


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (file photo)

The Kremlin says that U.S. plans to boost defense spending will not affect Russia unless they change the "strategic balances" between the former Cold War foes.

The remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on March 3 came as Moscow watches closely to see how U.S. foreign and defense policies unfold under President Donald Trump.

On February 27, Trump announced he will seek to increase defense spending by about $54 billion, or almost 10 percent, as part of a big buildup to compensate for what he said was a depleted military.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the spending plans "an internal matter for the United States."

"This has nothing to do with us as long as their increasing defense spending does not violate the current strategic balances," Peskov said.

Peskov said on March 1 that Russia was waiting with "patience" for indications about the future course of Washington's policy toward Moscow.

Trump strongly suggested during his campaign that he would seek to mend badly strained relations with Moscow, and expressed hope that the two countries could cooperate more closely against Islamic State and other extremist groups.

But Peskov said on March 3 that there had yet to be any substantive talks between the two countries on how to cooperate in the fight against terrorism or crises such as the conflict in Syria.

"There has not been any advance in terms of...true cooperation in the war on terror, and it is regretful," Peskov said, adding that one reason may be that Trump's administration had been in power for just over a month.

Based on reporting by TASS and Reuters
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