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Putin blames West for Ukraine crisis

Updated: 2014-09-11 09:48

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday blamed Western countries for provoking the Ukraine crisis, of which he said the West has taken advantage to resuscitate NATO, and vowed to take measures to strengthen Moscow's military power against emerging security threats.

"The crisis in Ukraine, which was basically provoked and created by some of our Western partners, is now being used to resuscitate this military bloc," Putin told a government meeting on the development of the state arms procurement program for 2016- 2025.

He said Russia will react to new security threats, but stressed that Moscow has no intention of getting involved in any kinds of arms race.

"We will take all these things (like NATO's expansion) into consideration when making our country's defense and security plan. We will have to do everything to guarantee our safety," Putin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Russia will not sever cooperation with foreign partners, while "existing risks" must be taken into account, he said.

"Our industry must be ready to produce critically important equipment, components and materials, to develop sufficient manufacturing capacity, technologies and technical stocks," Putin said.

To keep up its containment potential, Russia needs to rearm strategic and long-haul air forces and complete establishment of the airspace defense, especially the first-strike nuclear weaponry, he said.

Meanwhile, he said, Russia must make a breakthrough in creating high-precision weapons in the nearest future, producing defense- related equipment and materials domestically, as well as in developing its own technologies and industrial capabilities.

The president ordered the government by November to draft "balanced realistic option" of the state defense program for 2016- 2025. Also by the year's end the government must present an updated military doctrine, Putin said.

He stressed that Moscow has to undertake all kinds of measures only in response to external threats, including the theory of preemptive global strike advocated by NATO, deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense in Europe and Alaska, as well as the militarization of space.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said later that Russia will respond to the preemptive global strike theory by modernizing its Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), airspace force and warfare commanding systems.

This will be the only possible Russian reaction to the U.S. intentions, the Interfax quoted Rogozin as saying.

"Many of the things we had have been updated considerably, ensuring us that we will be able to protect ourselves with existing resources," Putin said.

In August, Moscow announced plans to increase the personnel of Russia's RVSN and its steady rearmament, which is to be completed in 2025. In December 2013, the Defense Ministry said Russia would put more emphasis on developing long-range, high-accuracy weapons in the country's massive defense upgrade.

Also, Russia plans to upgrade 85 percent of its strategic nuclear weapons by 2020. The government has earmarked 20 trillion rubles (about 600 billion U.S. dollars) for the massive rearmament program during that period.

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