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Cold Warrior Putin calls for Russian military upgrades as U.S. troop cuts loom

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country needs an immediate and massive military upgrade by 2016 and has called on his top brass to put the wheels in motion.

On Wednesday, he told top defense ministry and military officials that Russia is seeing "insistent attempts" from world powers, and the United States in particular, to upset the balance of missile defense, The Associated Press reported. He said the United States was trying to take the lead in world power and establish a new missile defense system, AP said.

His statements come at a time when Israel and the United States successfully tested a new missile defense system, the Arrow 3, which is aimed at shooting down long-range missiles.

They also come as the White House administration is warning forced budget cuts could idle some of the nation's military operations. In Newport News, Va., on Tuesday, President Obama said the looming cuts could lead to questions like: "Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?" AP reported.

Mr. Putin, a former Cold War KGB agent, is currently spending $750 billion over the next seven years to upgrade the nation's military equipment and bolster training for its forces.

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