Putin Says Russia to Get New Nuclear Weapons - October, 2007

There were a large number of press releases coming out of Russia this week. Moscow's political stance is hardening and its relations with the West, in particular with Britain and the United States, is becoming more and more strenuous. The following is one of the quotes Vladimir Putin made to the Russian press upon his return from his historic visit to Iran that caught my attention:

“Russia, thank God, isn't Iraq. It has enough strength and power to defend itself and its interests, both on its territory and in other parts of the world.”

Putin's comments are a clear attack against the United States and a warning that the Russian Federation will no longer allow the West to interfere in Russian affairs, domestic or foreign.



Putin Says Russia to Get New Nuclear Weapons

October, 2007

Vladimir Putin boasted of developing new nuclear weapons to strengthen Russia’s military power today and warned the United States not to ignore Moscow's objections to a planned missile defence shield in Europe. President Putin pledged to counter the shield unless the US and Europe took account of Russia's concerns. He also called on the US to set a date for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, adding that the 2003 invasion had been an attempt to secure control of its oil reserves. In a live televised question-and-answer programme with members of the public, Mr Putin made clear that he was determined to restore Russia’s military prestige by using the vast income from its own oil and gas resources. He said that Russia had a “grandiose” plan to strengthen the armed forces after years of decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union. "We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic (nuclear) complexes, completely new. Work is continuing and continuing successfully," Mr Putin said. He gave no details about the new nuclear weapon, but went on: "We have plans that are not only big, but grandiose, and they are fully realistic. Our armed forces will be more compact but more effective and better ensure Russia defence.”

The broadcast included footage of Russia’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile, the Topol-M, being test-fired from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia. State television claimed that it had hit a target thousands of miles away in the Pacific. "We serve our fatherland!" shouted a group of officers who had fired the missile after Mr Putin congratulated them on the achievement. The president promised to introduce more new missiles, bomber aircraft and submarines over the next few years to bolster what he called the “nuclear triad” of Russia’s military capabilities. "We will pay attention not only to developing the nuclear triad but other weapons as well. I hope that by 2012-15 we will see a new generation of jet fighters completed and sent into active duty,” he said. Mr Putin said that Russia would modernise its fleet of Bear strategic nuclear bombers, which he ordered to resume round-the-clock patrols in August for the first time since the end of the Cold War. Britain and other Nato countries have scrambled jet fighters repeatedly in recent months to shadow the bombers near their air space. Mr Putin said that the US was seriously examining Russian proposals to end the stand-off over the planned missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. But he warned: “If a decision is made without taking Russia's opinion into account, then we will certainly take steps in response, to ensure the security of Russian citizens.”

He also appeared to link the US intervention in Iraq with the need for Russia to defend its energy reserves in answer to a question from a mechanic from Siberia. The caller raised a comment allegedly made by former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright that it was “unjust” for Russia to have exclusive rights to the oil in Siberia. Mr Putin replied that he was not familiar with the comment but added: "I know that such ideas occupy the minds of certain politicians. This is a kind of political erotica, which perhaps, can give some people pleasure but is unlikely to yield any results. “The best example of that are the events in Iraq — a small country that can hardly defend itself and which possesses huge oil reserves. And we see what's going on there.” He urged the US to set a date for ending its occupation of Iraq, saying it was “absolutely pointless to fight with a people”. “Russia, thank God, isn't Iraq. It has enough strength and power to defend itself and its interests, both on its territory and in other parts of the world.”

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle2687252.ece

Putin Says Iraq Shows Need For Strong Russia Army

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq on Thursday, saying that experience showed the need for resource-rich countries like Russia to build up their armed forces to defend themselves. "Thank God Russia is not Iraq," Putin said during a live televised national question-and-answer session. "It is strong enough to protect its interests within the national territory and, by the way, in other regions of the world." Answering a questioner who asked about supposed U.S. intentions to gain control over Russia's huge, resource-rich interior, Putin said: "I know that such ideas are brewing in the heads of some politicians. I think it is a sort of political eroticism which maybe gives someone pleasure but will hardly lead anywhere and the best example of that is Iraq." "... What we are doing to increase our defense capability is the correct choice and we will continue to do that," Putin added. Putin, who faces parliamentary elections in December, hailed Russia's continued strong economic growth and rising living standards during exchanges with questioners connected live from different Russian cities. He admitted that inflation, which at 8.5 percent in the year to date has already exceeded the government's target for the whole year, was a problem but blamed global economic factors such as cuts in European agricultural subsidies and demand for biofuels. Putin also claimed that Russia's demographic crisis was easing, with the birthrate reaching a 15-year high and the death rate falling to its lowest level since 1999.


More than a million Russians applied to quiz Putin in the session, the sixth such annual event he has held to show he is in touch with the nation. Kremlin-watchers were following the event carefully for clues on what Putin plans after he steps down next year: whom he will endorse to succeed him and what role Putin himself will take to preserve his influence. This year's format began as in previous years, with a strong focus on domestic, bread-and-butter issues such as pensions, schools, prices and investment in the Far East. A selection of questions on the organizers' Web site, www.president-line.ru, suggested citizens were preoccupied with issues including rising utility bills, healthcare and students' finances. The site said that by 10:30 (2:30 a.m. EDT) on Thursday, 1.607 million questions had been submitted. The session is almost certain to be Putin's last before he steps down as president next year, when his second term ends. The constitution bars a president from serving more than two consecutive stints. Putin has said he will endorse the person he thinks is best suited to replace him. Opinion polls suggest that given Putin's personal popularity, that person will be the overwhelming favorite to win March 2008 presidential election. With three months to go before the deadline to register candidates in that vote, every Putin pronouncement is watched minutely for hints about whom he favors for the job. Analysts say newly appointed Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov are front-runners, but that Putin could equally spring a surprise. The Russian leader, who is 55, has said he will retain influence after he leaves the presidency. He said earlier this month it was possible he could become prime minister. Some observers say he is leaving open the possibility of returning to the presidency at a later date.

Source: http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/new...-PUTIN-COL.XML

Putin Says Russia Has `Grandiose Plans' for Military Buildup

President Vladimir Putin said Russia has "grandiose plans'' to continue the country's largest military build-up since the end of the Cold War. "We have plans, not simply big, but grandiose plans,'' Putin said today in his annual call-in television program with Russians spread across 11 time zones. "And they are completely realizable.'' Putin was responding to a question from soldiers stationed at a military base in Plesetk, site of a successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier today. Russia, the world's biggest energy supplier, last year earmarked 6 trillion rubles ($240 billion) for military spending through 2015 as Putin uses revenue from high commodity prices to restore the country's might. The military struggled after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as funding dried up and morale was sapped by incidents such as failed missile tests and the sinking of the Kursk submarine. The military last month tested the world's most powerful air-delivered vacuum bomb and today the Strategic Missile Forces said an RC-12M Topol missile traveled 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) to hit its designated target on the Kamchatka Peninsula near the Pacific Ocean. Putin said Russia is "successfully'' enhancing its nuclear arsenal, including the highly maneuverable, multiheaded Topol-M. ``Completely new'' systems are being developed, Putin said, without elaborating. The Navy will start construction of a new class of nuclear submarine next year, strategic bombers are being modernized and ``a new generation warplane'' will be ready by 2015, Putin said. "Russia, thank God, is not Iraq, and Russia has enough forces and funds to defend itself and its interests both on its own territory and in other parts of the world,'' Putin said.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p....NI&refer=home

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