The war of words between the United States and Russia over plans for a NATO missile defense system in Europe continued today, with Russian President Vladimir Putin vowing to never allow power to gain military superiority over Moscow.
“No one should entertain any illusions regarding their chances of asserting military superiority over Russia, we will never allow that to happen….thanks to our military doctrine and advanced weapons,” Putin said during his annual State of the Nation address, adding that Russia’s strategic nuclear forces were making significant progress on this front with the development of new missile systems and long range aviation facilities.
Putin’s comments follow volatile remarks made yesterday by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who asserted that Russia would respond with nuclear weapons if it was targeted by conventional American missiles.
Washington is planning to complete a project to install a missile defense system in Redzikowo, Poland by 2018 while another ballistic missile defense system in southern Romania is expected to be operational by 2015.
Putin complained that while the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program is fading as a result of last month’s deal in Geneva, the missile shield is still being advanced, adding that the system “is only defensive in name” and has “strategic offensive potential” due to the development of hypersonic long range missiles.
Putin added that the program would have a “grave impact on global and regional stability” and threatened to undermine existing strategic nuclear arms control protocols.
“We’re well aware of that and we know what we need to do about it,” stated Putin, announcing the creation of a “global surveillance system” for purposes of early warning and target designation which would operate in real time as well as plans to strengthen Russia’s “space based strategic forces” and continue a course of “unprecedented investment” in the Army and the Navy.
Russia has responded to the offensive threat posed by the missile shield by embarking on a huge arms build-up of its own while staging the country’s biggest military exercises since the cold war.
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