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Putin: Russia will counter U.S. military moves

  • Story Highlights
  • President Putin: Russia will respond to U.S., NATO 'expansion' near its borders.
  • Putin: Russia shut bases in Cuba, Vietnam but nothing in return from the West
  • U.S. plans missile defense in Poland, Czech Republic, bases in Romania, Bulgaria
  • U.S. says that missile defense system is too small to pose a threat to Russia
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin complained Friday about "one-way" Western military demands and promised that Russia will respond to U.S. and NATO military expansion near its borders.

"We have been put in a situation where we have to react," Putin said of U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and build new bases in Romania and Bulgaria.

"They tried to convince us that all these activities aren't against Russia, but our concerns have gone unanswered," Putin said. "Unfortunately our partners use a diplomatic and informational cover to hide their real plans."

Putin said Russia closed its bases in Cuba and Vietnam but saw no steps from the West toward compromise. NATO's demands, Putin said, "go one way."

"We have been put in a situation where we have to react. We have been forced to make certain decisions. Russia will always respond to this new challenge," Putin said.

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The United States has been seeking a limited missile defense system in parts of eastern Europe, which U.S. officials say is designed to protect NATO allies and others concerned about an Iranian missile threat.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has responded to Moscow's concerns by saying the system is too small to pose a threat to Russia.

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But Putin said he sees a "new turn in the arms race" in which "well-developed countries" invest more to produce better weapons than those in Russia. Putin promised that balance would soon shift.

"In the near future, we will develop new weapons that have the same characteristics, and in some cases better characteristics, as those being built by other countries," he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About RussiaVladamir PutinNATO

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