Putin Defies Critics in Last Bow

Russian leader underlines post-presidency designs on power, spars with West
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 14, 2008 2:36 PM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his news conference in Moscow's Kemlin on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008. Vladimir Putin was to hold the last annual news conference of his eight-year presidency...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Today may have been Vladimir Putin’s final press conference as Russia's president, but he made it clear he won’t be going far, the New York Times reports. Putin said he would remain a force in the Kremlin, as “there’s enough power to go 'round,” Bloomberg adds. He defied international criticism, refusing to withdraw recent threats to aim nuclear weapons at Eastern Europe.

Putin condemned the idea of a US missile-defense system in Europe and criticized NATO for overstepping its bounds. Russia, he said, must respond by increasing its own nuclear defenses. “We will have to re-target our missiles on the objects that we think threaten our national security,” he said. Putin plans to become prime minister after Russia chooses his successor March 2.