- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2014

Russian president Vladimir Putin told senior Kremlin officials Wednesday that the nation can expect large-scale weapons purchases for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Putin cited NATO expansion in Europe and U.S. efforts to perfect its missile defense system as a reasoning behind the buildup.

“Military space exploration continues, the issue of the use of non-nuclear strategic weapons is being studied, and so on and so on,” he told officials in Moscow regarding the need for a 10-year arms-buying program, The New York Times reported. “A lot of threats are emerging. Recently, as you know, there was a decision made to expand NATO forces in Eastern Europe.”

In recent months Russia christened a new top-secret nuclear submarine, the Severodvinsk, and announced a plan to have radar-evading ballistic missiles by 2021.

“By 2016, the share of new missile systems will reach nearly 60 percent, and by 2021 their share will increase to 98 percent,” Col. Igor Yegorov, a defense ministry spokesman for the Strategic Missile Forces, said in July, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported.

Mr. Putin added in Wednesday’s meeting that Russia must make progress on a plan to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers to supply weapons and military components.

SEE ALSO: Putin: ‘I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers’

By 2020, Russia expects to have spent $500 billion on a project to revamp its army and navy, the paper reported. The project began in 2011.

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