Putin: Russia Ready for 'New Arms Race'

Lame-duck prez takes veiled jabs at NATO weapons plans, US Middle East policy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2008 3:45 PM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 8, 2008. Putin heralded a wealthy Russia able to compete in a new 'arms race' with a speech setting long term priorities...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Russian president Vladimir Putin virtually renewed Cold War hostilities today, accusing the West of starting a new arms race and vowing to respond in kind, Reuters reports. “It is already clear that a new arms race is unfolding,” Putin said, citing recent NATO decisions to expand to Russia’s border and install missile-defense systems in central Europe. “We are forced to retaliate.”

Putin savaged US foreign policy, saying its actions “smell of oil and gas.” “Under the disguise of turgid declarations about freedom and open society, sometimes the sovereignty of certain states and whole regions is being destroyed,” he said. Putin's hand-picked successor is expected to replace him in 3 months, and many billed the speech as a “blueprint” for him.