Russia ready for arms race, prefers to avoid it – Putin

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev)
While Russia has every capability to adequately respond to the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe, Moscow would prefer Washington's plans to be reviewed, says President Vladimir Putin.

No matter what terms the American side uses, the missile defense shield "is still an element of an arms race," the Russian leader pointed out.

"We should look into the future and respond in a timely manner (to the advancement of these plans)," Putin said. "Certainly, it would be better for our partners not to do it, because this will evoke our response,” he noted, adding that Russia has “every possibility” of providing it.

He named government defense contracts among priorities in that respect.

"We must meet our government defense targets exactly on time, with due quality and at acceptable prices," the president stressed, as cited by Interfax. "If we do, there will be no major threat against us."

The statements were made during Putin's meeting with servicemen from the 393rd air base of the Russian Air Force in the Krasnodar Region.

Earlier in June, during a trip to Paris, Putin reiterated Moscow's stance on the European missile defense plans, saying that it needs legally-binding guarantees that the system would not be directed against Russia.

“Statements like ‘Don’t be afraid’ and ‘We promise that nothing will happen’ are clearly insufficient in the modern world. This is childish. We need guarantees and serious agreements in the security sphere,” he told reporters.