Will consider tackling NATO missile defence threat, says Putin

Moscow: Russia is being forced to look for ways to neutralise threats to its national security due to deployment of the NATO anti-missile shield in Europe, President Vladimir Putin said after the alliance launched a missile defence site in Romania.

“Now, after the deployment of those anti-missile system elements, we’ll be forced to think about neutralizing developing threats to Russia’s security,” Putin was quoted by RT online as saying.

The US missile shield in Europe was a clear violation of Russian-American arms treaties, Putin said at a meeting with Russian military officials, adding that the anti-missile facilities can be easily repurposed for firing short and midrange missiles.

The US anti-missile shield in Europe was yet another step in increasing international tensions and launching a new arms race, he stressed.

“We’re not going to be dragged into this race. We’ll go our own way. We’ll work very accurately without exceeding the plans to finance the re-equipment of our Army and Navy, which have already been laid out for the next several years,” Putin asserted.

“Recent developments indicate that the situation isn’t getting better. Unfortunately, it’s deteriorating. I’m talking about the launch of the radar station in Romania as one of the elements of the up-and-coming US anti-missile defence programme,” Putin said.

Russia was making every effort to maintain the strategic balance of power, in order to avoid the outbreak of large-scale conflicts, the president said.

NATO formally declared its missile defence base in Deveselu, Romania, operational on Thursday, bringing to fruition a plan to construct a shield in Eastern Europe first announced by George W. Bush in 2007.