Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday said his country intends to update its nuclear arsenal within the next decade, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Feb. 9).
"In accordance with the plan for the development and reconfiguration of the armed forces, special attention, of course, will be paid to nuclear deterrent forces, space and air defenses," Putin said in released comments (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Feb. 17).
Moscow yesterday continued to criticize revised U.S. plans for a European missile shield that now appear set to involve Romania and potentially Bulgaria, Interfax reported (see GSN, Feb. 16).
A top Russian lawmaker called on Washington to halt further implementation of its missile defense plan until a joint analysis on the matter had been undertaken with Russia.
"We and [the] Americans reached an agreement on this issue. And, suddenly we see that Americans continue some parallel practical measures, which are not transparent and [are] unclear to us," Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov said in a television interview (see GSN, July 7, 2009).
The Obama administration's replacement for its predecessor's plan for a European missile shield calls for sea- and land-based interceptors to be fielded around the continent as a safeguard from short- and medium-range missiles that could be launched from Iran. While Moscow initially greeted the new plan as being preferable to a Bush-era effort, the Kremlin has increasingly raised objections to the initiative.
"The most regrettable thing is that these plans do not fit the well-known 'reset' program in Russian-American relations in any way," Kosachyov said.
"We cannot yet say to what extent all this threatens our security," the Russian lawmaker said, adding that Washington had promised Moscow "explanations" (Interfax I, Feb. 16).
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher said Monday that Washington continues to consult with Moscow on missile defense collaboration and would welcome Russian involvement in NATO missile defense efforts, Interfax reported (Interfax II/Kiev Post, Feb. 16).